Mark your calendars: This weekend is the 13th-annual International Chocolate Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Friday through Sunday, thousands of sweets lovers will gather in Coral Gables for three jam-packed days of educational exhibits and lectures, live music, cooking demonstrations, plenty of sweet samples, and even a ChocoSpa experience.
The event will center around Fairchild's dedication to bean-to-bar education, giving attendees an inside look into the chocolate-making process. With more than a dozen lectures, demos, and tastings, topics range from the challenges of growing cacao in South Florida to the future of chocolate according to master chocolatiers.
A few Miami chefs will be on site to showcase chocolate-driven recipes, including vegan avocado chocolate cake with Ortanique on the Mile's chef Monica Duenes, dark chocolate mousse with berry compote with Cao Chocolate's chef Ricardo Trillos, and grilled prawns with chocolate barbecue sauce and goat cheese-sweet potato mash with chef Christopher
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Other activities include a chocolate-making demonstration from Ecuador-based chocolate company Pacari, and services at the ChocoSpa. Fairchild will also offer cacao trees and chocolate-scented orchids for purchase.
Fairchild's Garden House will be stocked with a bounty of confections, as well as savory foods featuring chocolate-infused flavors. Nearby, the Choco Beer Garden at the Cycad Vista Lawn will be pouring suds from local breweries, including Concrete Beach.
In addition, event-goers can explore the garden, including a rainforest area with growing cacao trees, and the Tropical Fruit Pavilion where cacao is harvested.
International Chocolate Festival. Friday, January 25, through Sunday, January 27, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables; 305-667-1651; fairchildgarden.org. Tickets cost $12 to $25 via store.fairchildonline.com.