Go Gaga for Chocolate at Fairchild Tropical Garden's 5th Annual Chocolate Festival

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​For as long as it's existed, chocolate has been revered. Rich, smooth, creamy; however you like to consume it, it sooths and stimulates, comforts and warms. How does one not like chocolate?

For three days starting Friday, about 12,000 people will show their undying love for the treat and the cocoa plant at the 5th Annual International Chocolate Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Local chefs such as Hedy Goldsmith (Michael's Genuine), Andrea Curto-Randazzo (The Water Club), Andrea Menichetti (Vino e Olio) and Norman Van Aken will share chocolate recipes throughout the weekend. Learn how to prepare cocoa and cayenne churrasco, almond cannoli with chocolate mousse and Grand Marnier cream, milk chocolate jellies with smoked sugar and an array of other chocolaty goods.

Bakers are invited to submit a cake or cupcake for the Botanic Art in Chocolate cake contest. Requirements are simple: the main ingredient must be chocolate, the recipe must be original and the cake must be inspired in South Florida's plants and flowers. (See the complete rules and application.)

There will also be lectures, yoga classes, chocolate meditation (can anyone really concentrate when thinking of chocolate?) and all the chocolate you could hope for.

Admission is $25 for adults, $18 for seniors and $12 for children 6-17. Free for Fairchild members. The festival takes place from Friday, January 21 to Sunday, January 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. See the full schedule here.

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