Last Night's Scottsdale Culinary Festival Chocolate & Wine Experience Not So Chocolatey
To me, one of chocolate's best properties is the fact that it doesn't need to be super sweet to feel incredibly indulgent. A blissful chocolate is smooth, rich, dark, and simple. My current favorite is Chocolove's Orange Peel, and I expected the Scottsdale Culinary Festival's only dessert event would satisfy me at least as much as that wonderful chocolate bar.
The Chocolate & Wine Experience, however, didn't always showcase chocolate's best qualities. Instead of a celebration of chocolate, it felt more like a date night or social event. There was some really good chocolate, like Wei of Chocolate's organic, fair trade selections. It's no surprise that I gravitated toward the Wei Joyful, a citrus-infused 70% cacao bar with hints of herbs, lotus flower, and Cereus flower. Paired with Allure Winery's California Bubbly Moscato, it was a joyful experience indeed. (My Chocolove had better watch out.) But, there weren't many pure chocolate tastes to be had last night, and too often the star of the show was overshadowed by sugary confections -- and not particularly good ones.
The Talking Stick Resort, where the event was held, didn't seem to get the memo about chocolate. Orange Sky's dessert looked really impressive, and it earned lots of rave reviews from attendees. As cute as it was, the marshmallow, caramel, and chocolate sandwiched by thick almond cookies was super sweet and contained barely any chocolate. When two ladies stopped beside me with these on their plates, I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into one, but I stopped at two bites and then moved on. The caramel was well made; but the marshmallow was a little too stiff, and the whole thing was overwhelming.
Orange Sky's confection
NutWhats brought some "twistedly addictive confections" to hand out in pre-portioned plastic packages. While the packing was a nice touch, the Pecan Scribble, which is drizzled (or scribbled) with chocolate, didn't have much chocolate at all. It would have been more appropriate to completely cover those clusters of pecan brittle in chocolate, and that would have made a truly addictive treat.
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