You’re invited to the Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival on Sunday, January 24 — meet more than 30 vendors including Lifestyle Culinary Arts, Neo Cocoa, and Segovia Sweets. This affordable benefit ($5 and up: read event overview) for re-entry student scholarships is sponsored by the UC Santa Cruz Women’s Club.
Lifestyle Culinary Arts is a Scotts Valley catering company. Chef/owner Andrea Waters, a graduate of Cabrillo College’s Culinary Arts program, has participated in the Chocolate Festival since the event’s inception in 2008. Lifestyle will be offering chocolate fondue at the festival in exchange for customers’ tasting tickets. A lavish chocolate dessert display will include two fondue flavors plus an assortment of dipping treats (bananas and other fruit, marshmallows, cubes of cake, cookies, etc.). Tasters will receive two skewers to fill with treats and dip in both fondues. The fondue flavors will be a surprise; last year featured Spiced Chai Chocolate Fondue and Smoked Bacon & Italian Sea Salt Chocolate Fondue. If you visit Lifestyle’s table you can find out more about its gourmet catering services and classes. You can also buy gift certificates for cooking classes (hmmm, perhaps a Valentine’s Day gift?). Special certificates for a group class “Chocolate Tasting, Lecture & Cooking/Baking with Chocolate” are available for $50 per person; it’s on Friday, Feb 26th. Lifestyle also offers private classes, great for couples or small groups of friends, including “Private Chocolate Tasting, Lecture & Cooking Class” (up to 4 people for $250). The company also does event catering and gourmet lunch delivery.
Neo Cocoa is a San Francisco-based chocolate truffle company. Founder/CEO Christine Doerr, an experienced pastry chef and California Culinary Academy graduate, launched Neo Cocoa in 2008. Her “hearts of chocolate truffles” are handcrafted with top-quality local ingredients from companies such as Guittard Chocolate Company, G. L. Alfieri and Straus Family Creamery. The truffles are unshelled, dark chocolate ganache, and instead of being enrobed they are only dusted with rich cocoa powder. These are simply the centers or “hearts” of chocolate truffles; as described by San Francisco’s 7×7 Magazine, they “separate themselves from the masses…Doerr’s touch is subtle and sophisticated.” At the Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival, Neo Cocoa will be sampling the following truffle flavors: Almond Butter & Smoked Sea Salt, Freshly Zested Lime, Toasted Coconut, Mocha Cinnamon, and Crushed Bitterweet Nib. For sale will be 5- and 10-piece gift boxes ($12 and $24), and a two-piece box ($5) with Almond Butter-Sea Salt and Zested Lime. Neo Cocoa’s awards include First Place for Best Truffle and Second Place for Best Traditional Chocolates at the 2009 San Francisco International Chocolate Salon, and Best New Chocolate in the City (2009) from 7×7 Magazine. You can buy these sweet treats online or at shops including San Francisco’s Village Market (in the Ferry Building) and Bi-Rite Market (in the Mission District).
Segovia Sweets is a Scotts Valley-based company that Michelle Segovia founded in 2008. The treats available to sample at the festival will be Segovia Sweets’ gourmet cakes, triple fudge brownies, and specialty rolled Belgian chocolate truffles (various flavors). The company will also be selling Petite Fours (rich almond butter cakes), taking orders for Valentine’s Day, and distributing flyers for its upcoming Segovia Sweets Valentines Day Candy Sales – those events will take place at Mollie’s Country Café in Scotts Valley on Thurs-Fri Feb 11-12 (10am-2pm and 6-8pm each day). At the Scotts Valley sales, Valentine’s Day confections and gift boxes will be available for purchase. Segovia Sweets makes truffles in numerous flavors including almond praline, amaretto, blackberry, chili pepper, creamy peanut butter, creamy dark chocolate, creamy milk chocolate, and hazelnut cream.
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