“For the Love of Chocolate” – Portland Chocolate Festival

To say that I am a chocolate lover is a bit of an understatement. Mint chocolate, cayenne chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, Belgian chocolate, Swiss chocolate, and even chocolate wine – no matter the kind or form, I love it all.  This uncontrollable love has caused me to develop the WORST habit of craving chocolate after dinner. Sometimes I’m even desperate enough to grab a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips if I happen to have some leftover from my latest baking project.

Last week I was searching for something fun to do over the weekend with our good friends Ben and Jackie. After a few minutes of searching the web I learned that there was Chocolate Festival being held at the convention center on Saturday and there was no question in my mind that I would be in attendance – with or without Ben and Jackie (although I had a strong feeling that Jackie would be down for it!).

On Saturday morning my boyfriend and I met Ben and Jackie for breakfast at the Screen Door – a restaurant Jackie had recommended for a southern comfort style breakfast. There was a crowd outside when we arrived but we were well aware that we would have to wait to be seated at this hotspot (who only serves breakfast on the weekends). We chatted during our wait (maybe about 45-50 minutes) before we were seated in the back of the warm, cozy restaurant. We ordered an array of breakfast items from a cajun style omelette and texas migas to biscuits and gravy. The large portions of indulgent dishes defined comfort food and were definitely worth the wait. Keenan wants to go back for the fried chicken and waffles – served sky-high with a waffle on the bottom, stack of fried chicken, and a steak knife holding it all together. Sounds dangerous if you ask me!

As if we didn’t indulge ourselves enough at breakfast, we made our way to the convention center for the Chocolate Festival. The boys weren’t too excited about the event so it was no surprise when we lost them to bar at the convention center while Jackie and I continued on to the chocolate mecca. We enjoyed countless chocolate samples like Cupcake Jones’s chocolate buttercream frosting, Brownies from Heaven’s raspberry brownies, Seely Family Farms mint patties,  and many, many more. We washed the chocolate down with red wine samplers from Hip Chicks Do Wine and sakitinis from SakiOne.  Here’s a few highlights of the event:

chocolate cake

chocolate tree

brownies from heaven

chocolate inspired jewlery

Chocolate bunny

All in all in the Chocolate Festival was a success. Brunch with good friends, quality girl time, chocolate, and wine – I couldn’t ask for a better Saturday. Are you a chocolate lover? Don’t miss my chocolate sour cream bundt cake recipe next week.

For  more images of the Chocolate Festival, visit my picasa album.

Fun Chocolate Facts

#1. 63% of Americans can’t resist buying a chocolate treat for themselves when buying chocolates for others.

#2. 51% of Americans choose what chocolate they eat by the shape of the piece.

#3. Chocolate is a great natural antidepressant. It contains tryptophan which helps you create serotonin, your body’s own antidepressant.

#4. The Portland Chocolate Festival is a fundraiser for the World Forestry Center.

#5. The largest chocolate bar ever made weighed 5,026 lbs.

#6. Richard Cadbury came up with the first heart-shaped box of chocolates in 1891.

#7. Chocolate has over 500 flavor components (double that of vanilla and strawberry)

#8. Consumers worldwide spend over 20 billion a year on chocolate.