This past weekend brought a doubly delicious treat for me. For starters, I finished the last of my classes at the University of Central Florida (I’ll be graduating Thursday morning). The second and sweeter treat, however, was the arrival of the Festival of Chocolate. Since I’ve been living right off campus, it made attending this decadent event a bit easier. And when you’re a college student who has to pay for an event that demands $17 just for entry, anything easier is all sweeter.
My expectations were wondrously met as I wandered about, eyes darting back and forth at numerous booths, each simply begging for the last share of my student loan. Of course, this being the end of the semester and seeing so many overly rich treats, the concern of temptation quickly becomes irrelevant. And when I say “overly rich,” I don’t exaggerate…someone actually had a heart attack. Granted, I didn’t actually witness this, but the sweet and rich factor can’t be underestimated. Until I treated myself to a golf ball-shaped cake drop, I was convinced sweet was synonymous with non-filling.
All of the booths and displays throughout the festival were, to put it simply, overwhelming. For all of the sweets to crave, I actually found myself initially drawn to trivia posters and boards placed throughout the Arena. A few weren’t too surprising, such as how people who eat chocolate typically live a year longer than those who might not. But then there was some more curious trivia, such as how a single chocolate chip can apparently give one person enough energy to walk 150 feet. Or how about this? Even though chocolate is the most liked flavor in the United States, we’re far from the greatest chocolate consumers…that honor goes to Switzerland.
There was certainly a fair share of the usual suspects for a festival dedicated to chocolate treats, ranging from large cookies, to immaculately designed cupcakes of all sizes, ice cream, multi-flavored fudge, covered apples, doused marshmallows and many more of what you’d expect to find.
This isn’t to say there weren’t some surprises and twists to find lying about. Some chocolate sculptures were on display, including an unnamed Chocolate Lab, a life-size jazz man made of fudge, several dresses made out of candy wrappers and even a game of hands-free doughnut-eating (hung above the contestants). Watching people struggle to chomp and talk while eating their doughnut only made me chuckle, thinking that this must be how dogs feel when we tease them with Beggin’ Strips.
Something else that drew much attention was a wedding cake decorating contest in which four people had two hours to make their best creation. Two of the contestants were trying their hand at a wedding cake for the first time, while the other two had several under their belts. It shouldn’t be tough to guess who did better than the others. Regardless, I have to give credit to anyone who can make a decent-looking cake in such a short span of time, especially since one of the contestants didn’t wind up faring so well (but the judges at least liked the way it tasted).
Not long after the winner was crowned for the cake competition, I wound up making my take-home purchases of the day and went on my way. The damage came to $18 for four pieces of the aforementioned fudge and five assorted cupcakes (and a brownie bite on the house). It’s a miracle I haven’t brought myself to finish them all at this point, two days later.
But why should I have all the fun? Have a look below at some of the photos I took and see a bit of what I saw at the Festival of Chocolate. If it ever comes near you in the future, then be sure you check it out, especially if you haven’t before!