Come to the Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival on Sunday, January 24 and meet more than 30 vendors including Belgique Truffle Gateau, Pacific Cookie, and Theo Chocolate. Read a comprehensive overview. This affordable benefit ($5 and up!) for re-entry student scholarships is sponsored by the UC Santa Cruz Women’s Club.
Belgique Truffle Gateau was created by Linda and James Keys in Santa Cruz, and is now based in Sacramento. At the Chocolate Festival, for samples (exchanges for “tasting tickets”) Belgique will be offering its dark chocolate “Double Decadent” Truffle Gateau (no nuts) and its milk chocolate “Southern Pecan” Truffle Gateau. Both the dark and milk chocolate Truffle Gateaux are made with 100% pure Callebaut Belgian chocolate. The company’s dark chocolates include Swiss Mocha, Hawaiian Macadamia, and Black Walnut. Milk chocolate varieties include Oregon Hazelnut, California Almond, and Pure Heaven. Belgique truffles are the only baked truffle on the market today. Truffles are freshly baked each week (using an original recipe created by the Keys) with 100% pure Belgian chocolate and all natural ingredients. They are hand-wrapped in colored foils and labeled with original pastel art illustrating each variety. Because the Truffle Gateaux are soft and creamy, similar to a cheese (no hard outer shell) and the fact that they are not too sweet in taste, they are a favorite among many winemakers in California. Wineries where the Keys have been invited to pair their Truffle Gateaux during special events include The Hess Collection, Cline Cellars, Ravenswood, Clos du Bois, Sterling Vineyards, and Rosenblum Cellars. Belgique’s awards and recognition include Best of Class Blue Ribbon for Confections at the California State Fair and being the exclusive chocolates to the US Tour of the King Tut exhibit.
Pacific Cookie Company has been a family business in Santa Cruz for 30 years. Larry and Shelly Pearson first opened the retail bakery in 1980 on Pacific Garden Mall, and a retail store is still on Pacific across the street from the original location. Pacific Cookie Company will be serving four cookie varieties as tastes at the Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival: Chocolate Chip, Dr. Midnight, Mint Condition and Cahootz. Dr. Midnight is a chocolate treat with Guittard semi-sweet chocolate, chocolate chips, chocolate syrup, and cocoa powder. Mint Condition is the same except the chocolate chips in Dr. Midnight are replaced with Guittard green mint chips. Cahootz combines Barry Callebaut white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts with a hint of coconut. The company won’t be selling any additional products at thte Chocolate Festival, but if you like what you taste you can go downtown – not far from the Festival’s Cocoanut Grove location – and buy cookies and/or gift certificates.
Theo Chocolate, a Seattle company, prides itself on being the only true “bean to bar maker” of organic, Fair Trade Certified chocolate in the US and an independently owned, socially and environmentally responsible chocolate maker. The company controls and executes the entire manufacturing process, from bean sourcing through to the final molding process. At the Chocolate Festival, Theo Chocolate will be both sampling and selling 8 different bars. From its 3oz. Classic line, Theo will be highlighting Cherry Almond, Orange, Mint, and Spicy Chile. All four of those bars are 70% cacao and certified Fair Trade and Organic. In addition, Theo will be promoting four of its Fantasy Flavor bars: Nib Brittle, Fig Fennel and Almond, Chai Tea Crunch and Coconut Curry. The Nib and the Fig are both 70% cacao while the Chai Tea and the Curry are 40% milk chocolate bars. All four of these bars are certified Fair Trade and Organic as well.
Watch for articles every day until the festival highlighting more vendors — including what they will be serving on Sunday! If you’d like to be emailed every time I post a new article, subscribe at my home page. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow me @tfatemiwalker.