NW Chocolate Festival Seattle, WA Chocolate Trends 2018

This past weekend marked the 10th year of the NW Chocolate Festival in Seattle, WA and my fourth time to attend.  Some years the chocolate trends jump out at you, however, this year I found them to be a bit more subtle.  Keep in mind, these trends are related to the show specifically.

Trend #1:  The show itself has become more international than ever with more makers joining every year such as Mirzam and Fu Wan, both of which were selling out fast!

Mirzam Chocolate NW Chocolate Festival 2018

Fu Wan Chocolate at the NW Chocolate Festival 2018 Continue reading “NW Chocolate Festival Seattle, WA Chocolate Trends 2018”

NW Chocolate Festival Seattle, WA Craft Chocolate Trends 2017

The 9th Annual Northwest Chocolate Festival took place this year on Nov. 11 -12th, 2017 in Seattle, WA. This was my third year to attend ( I live in Port Townsend, WA so I drive to the Bainbridge Ferry to get over to Seattle.  So grateful to live this close to an event like this!).

The NW Chocolate Festival is a fantastic place to try 100+ craft chocolate makers from both the U.S. and international locations.  Plus, there are several educational talks, presentations, and workshops throughout both days.  There is something for everyone!

For example, Hazel Lee presented a workshop that involved tasting chocolate while utilizing her lovely Taste with Colour Flavour Map and then the participants painted what colors or pictures they envisioned while savoring the craft chocolate.  It was enjoyable to listen to what attendees tasted and the colors the envisioned.  Especially people who weren’t overly familiar with craft chocolate flavors.  (Want a Taste with Colour for your own?  Check it out here:  Taste with Colour). I’ve had her flavour map for a few months now and didn’t even know I associated colors with flavors until then.  (Find out more about Hazel in my interview with her:  Hazel Lee ).

Hazel Lee Taste with Colour Workshop at The NW Chocolate Festival 2017 Continue reading “NW Chocolate Festival Seattle, WA Craft Chocolate Trends 2017”

Sirene Chocolate Dark Milk 65% Guatemala Bar & 65% Madagascar Bar Review with Victoria Cooksey

This post originally appeared on my Blogspot account on 11-11-16

I’m feeling like a kid at holiday time because I know this time tomorrow I’ll be sampling so many amazing chocolates at the NW Chocolate Festival in Seattle, WA.  This Sirene Chocolate bar is about the last of my current supply of chocolate, so I will definitely be replenishing my chocolate stash big time over the next two days.  Please feel free to say “Hello” to me if you see me at the festival!

Sirene Chocolate is an artisan, bean to bar, small batch, direct trade, chocolate company located in Victoria, B.C., Canada.  Continue reading “Sirene Chocolate Dark Milk 65% Guatemala Bar & 65% Madagascar Bar Review with Victoria Cooksey”

Firefly Chocolate Bay Nut Bar & Marou’s Cashew Nut Praline Dark Chocolate Bar Reviews

Note:  This post was first published in my original Blogspot site on 1-13-17.

This week I’m bringing you 2 chocolate reviews for the price of 1 (which is basically free, as usual). I purchased both the Firefly & Marou bars at the NW Chocolate Festival last Nov.  Hard to believe that was last year already!!

First up is Firefly Chocolate Bay Nut Bar made with cocoa beans from Belize. Bay nuts are indigenous to California, and Firefly harvests wild ones for this bar.  These bars are made in California as well. Continue reading “Firefly Chocolate Bay Nut Bar & Marou’s Cashew Nut Praline Dark Chocolate Bar Reviews”

Sweets Escalier Bean to Bar from Japan Gianduja Cuba Chocolate Bar Review with Victoria Cooksey

Note this post was first published as part of my original Blogspot site on 12-2-16.

Bean to bar chocolate from Japan is becoming quite the trend in the chocolate world.  In fact, Sweets Escalier, from Japan, made an appearance at the recent NW Chocolate Festival in Seattle, WA.

Pastry chef Tomomi Kaneko, owner of Sweets Escalier in the Japanese city of Niigata, recently turned towards bean to bar chocolate making.  Through chatting with an interpreter present I learned that the designs on the chocolate bar labels were also designed by the chocolatemaker, and that there are around “fifty” bean to bar makers already in Japan.

Continue reading “Sweets Escalier Bean to Bar from Japan Gianduja Cuba Chocolate Bar Review with Victoria Cooksey”

Durci Taino Secret 70% Dark Chocolate Bar Review

Durci is a craft chocolate maker located at the base of the Wasatch Range in Utah.  The very first time I had their chocolate was at the NW Chocolate Festival in Nov. 2016.  So I was standing there talking with Sharon Terenzi, The Chocolate Journalist, and she asked if I had tried Durci before.  Since I hadn’t she grabbed my arm, and quickly got me from one end of the place to the other to Durci’s table. I may have bumped into a few people on the way. Sorry!  Lol!

 Pic of Durci at the NW Chocolate Festival Seattle, WA 2016

Continue reading “Durci Taino Secret 70% Dark Chocolate Bar Review”

NW Chocolate Festival 2016: Chocolate Trends with Victoria Cooksey

Note:  This post was originally posted on 11-15-16 when my blog was on Blogspot.

This past weekend I attended the NW Chocolate Festival in Seattle, WA.  Luckily, for me, it’s just a bit over a hours drive, plus a short ferry ride away.  (I reside in Port Townsend, WA).  With the topic of trends I’m looking at both what I found to be different from last year’s festival, and what is trending in general in the wonderful world of bean to bar chocolate.

These trends are listed in no particular order.

1. Coconut.  Both coconut milk, and coconut sugar (along with other non-dairy ingredients) are being utilized more frequently in chocolate bars. Continue reading “NW Chocolate Festival 2016: Chocolate Trends with Victoria Cooksey”

Interview with Hazel Lee, Bean to Bar Maker & Consultant, NW Chocolate Festival, Chocolate Ecstasy Tours with Victoria Cooksey

Note:  This interview originally appeared on my Dark Matters Fine Chocolate blog on blogspot on 10-21-16.

I’m so pleased to bring you this interview with Hazel Lee!  Hazel is a bean to bar chocolate maker, chocolate consultant, social media director for the NW Chocolate Festival, is a tour guide with Chocolate Ecstasy Tours in England, a judge for both the Academy of Chocolate, and Quality Food Awards, and more!  Wow!  She is clearly a very busy lady, so I’m very grateful she made time to answer questions for my blog.  Thank you Hazel!  (She also gets my vote for best smile in the chocolate industry! Her smile will make you smile too, and it’s so clear she loves what she does).

Hazel Lee

Victoria Cooksey:  What was your first experience with fine chocolate?

Hazel Lee:  I walked into a Hotel Chocolat store in 2008 and tried a free sample of chocolate-enrobed rum-soaked raisins and instantly tasted the difference in their chocolate compared with high street confectionery. The quality was a whole new level and from that moment I was hooked!

Continue reading “Interview with Hazel Lee, Bean to Bar Maker & Consultant, NW Chocolate Festival, Chocolate Ecstasy Tours with Victoria Cooksey”