Thousands of chocolate lovers gathered for educational exhibits, live music, and plenty of sweet samples at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden’s tenth-annual International Chocolate Festival this weekend. Though Miami has several events featuring the confection, Fairchild's festival takes guests on a journey through the entire chocolate process, from cacao tree to bar.
The connection between a botanic garden and a celebration of chocolate lies in the education. The garden allowed curious guests to explore the various practices of growing and harvesting the tree, which is in critical shortage around the world. The festival's hands-on educational experience also included learning to cook with chocolate and candy-making techniques.
For guests wanting to attend simply to enjoy chocolate, vendors were on hand offering it in every form, from cakes to drinks to cacao nibs.
From 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, food trucks and kiosks were nestled in Fairchild's clearings. Tents housed various chocolate-related displays and live cooking demonstrations, led by leading Miami chefs.
Miami chocolatiers such as Cao Chocolates and Exquisito offered all the classics, from bars and barks to the famous chocolate fountain.
Vendors also sold more innovative takes on the treat, featuring chocolate baked into intricate truffles, coated on crisp quinoa, and drizzled onto candied bacon.
Spending the day munching on cocoa can make you wonder what makes this stuff so damn good. luckily, lectures by local experts covered a wide range of topics, including chocolate's recent diversification and sustainable harvesting methods.
Guests seeking a more immersive experience could explore the Chocowalk, a series of educational booths throughout the gardens that traced the chocolate-making process, from fruit to the beloved final product. Also on the route was a KidWay Station, where children could create their own chocolate labels and customized treats.
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For some much-needed sugar rush relief, savory options including tacos, gyros and crisp fried conch.
Whether guests were looking to learn the history behind the fruit of the gods or simply snack the day away, Fairchild's tenth-annual International Chocolate Festival was a chocoholic's dream of a weekend.