Edge, Food

International Chocolate Festival features sweet samples, cooking demos, educational exhibits

Cacao Art Chocolates displays their assortment of hand-crafted chocolates and truffles in the Garden House Saturday. Hallee Meltzer // Photo Editor

Cacao Art Chocolates displays their assortment of hand-crafted chocolates and truffles in the Garden House Saturday. Hallee Meltzer // Photo Editor

Tasty chocolate, scenic gardens and cold weather came together at the 10th Annual International Chocolate Festival at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden this weekend. At the event, students and other visitors enjoyed the beautiful gardens while sampling different variations of chocolates and listening to music.

Every year, Fairchild brings chocolate makers and connoisseurs together. Scholars gave lectures about cacao plants, plant breeding and chocolate production in different countries. The goal of the festival is to educate visitors about the different ways of making chocolate while giving them something sweet to munch on.

“For me, it’s amazing because I’m here to teach about chocolate production,” said William Navas, a visitor experience coordinator. “When you explain that to the people it’s amazing because they don’t know that from the trees – from the seeds – you’re going to have such a nice, delicious product like the chocolate.”

In addition to the lectures, garden visitors were also invited to watch cooking demonstrations and to receive free samples from vendors.

“The people want to taste chocolate,” Navas said.

One demonstration involved making a sculpture out of pure, solid chocolate. It consisted of multi-colored flowers sprouting from a brown stem, all carved out of chocolate.

Ryan Hauslinger, a student from Johnson and Wales University majoring in baking and pastries and a designer of the chocolate sculpture, explained the process of making something out of chocolate.

“We started last night and basically tempered chocolate, which is [when]you take chocolate up to a certain temperature and then bring it back down,” he said. “Then they had certain molds they could pour the chocolate into and let it set, and that’s what made it harden the right way. Now, they’re assembling the chocolate into a sculpture. The flowers are white chocolate, too.”

People were eventually able to taste the sculpture since every piece of it was edible.

“People can eat it after, but I’m not sure if they’ll want to eat it,” Hauslinger said.

While the festival began Friday, rain, clouds and cold weather held many visitors back. On Saturday, however, the festival was busier. Navas was impressed with the overall turnout.

“[Saturday] was amazing. We had 2,600 people in the butterfly conservatory alone. That means there could be probably around 5,000 people at the festival [Saturday],” he said.

Caroline Blake, a visitor and Miami native, described the blend of chocolate samples and gorgeous garden views that the festival offered.

“It’s a nice, different experience to get a little bit of the chocolate and the food pieced with the beautiful Fairchild Gardens here. You get to see what Miami can offer,” she said.

During a demonstration Saturday at the 10th Annual International Chocolate Festival, a Fairchild Tropical Gardens volunteer breaks open a cacao bean for attendees to view its composition. Hallee Meltzer // Photo Editor

During a demonstration Saturday at the 10th Annual International Chocolate Festival, a Fairchild Tropical Gardens volunteer breaks open a cacao bean for attendees to view its composition. Hallee Meltzer // Photo Editor

Wendy's Chocolates sells chocolate-covered Oreo cookies and graham crackers during Fairchild Tropical Garden's International Chocolate Festival. Hallee Meltzer // Photo Editor

Wendy’s Chocolates sells chocolate-covered Oreo cookies and graham crackers during Fairchild Tropical Garden’s International Chocolate Festival. Hallee Meltzer // Photo Editor

January 24, 2016

About Author

Esther Ponce De Leon


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Last year the rain fell in torrents. Wednesday was all scorching sunshine. Fifteen former Miami Hurr ...

See phtos from the University of Miami's annual Pro Day, where outgoing UM players perform for ...

Quarterback Brad Kaaya ambled out of the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence close to 3 p.m. Wed ...

A woman has accused NFL Hall of Famer and former University of Miami star wide receiver Michael Irvi ...

Today is special for 15 former Hurricanes football players from the University of Miami. It’s Pro Da ...

More than 250 participants met at the UM Fieldhouse at the Watsco Center to learn more from industry ...

Redshirt freshman diver David Dinsmore won the NCAA national championship in the men’s 10-meter plat ...

UM junior Gina Panarese was surprised on campus Thursday by the Ellen DeGeneres show and asked to pa ...

A conversation with Belén Garijo and Felicia Marie Knaul. ...

Nova Southeastern University’s Jacqueline A. Travisano will be UM’s Executive Vice President for Bus ...

At The Net with Piotr Lomacki ...

The University of Miami men's basketball team will face Princeton on Dec. 2 in the Naismith Mem ...

The University of Miami track and field team will compete at two of the top outdoor meets in the Uni ...

What's Pro Day like at The U? We followed along from start to finish to find out. ...

Greg Veliz delivered a sparkling performance on the hill, but Miami fell to No. 12 FGCU 3-0. ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.