Special Report: The Dallas Chocolate Conference 2011

Darcy Plantage of Elegantly Chocolate (All photos by Suzi Migdol)

I once had a dream wherein I visited a magical building, and in that building, lovely people danced around throwing handcrafted chocolates, magical brownies, and toffees in my mouth from all directions.   I pranced around this magical building for hours, humming Simon and Garfunkel tunes, hugging everyone in sight, and smearing my entire body in chocolate fudge.  It was a wonderful dream, but this past Saturday, this dream became a reality (most of it anyways).

This past weekend, at the Addison Conference Center, the brilliant minds behind DallasChocolate.org brought together the most talented group of chocolatiers in Big D.  It was truly a festival for all to enjoy.  I have not seen a happier group of people gathered in one place since the night I camped out with the Star Wars geeks for the opening of the Phantom Menace.  It was like being transported to the mystical Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory, without those disturbing Oopa Loompas narrating your every move.

The men and women showcasing their chocolate talents were no less than extraordinary.  Some of the wonderful people included in the showcase included…

A mix of fabulous brownies from Oh * Brownie

Oh * Brownie, created by Iris McCallister (spouse of the famed chef Matt McCallister) who provided a variety of decadent brownies made with premium Callebaut Belgian chocolate…

Caron and Shawn Askinosie, changing the world through chocolate

The inspirational Askinosie Chocolate, providing chocolate bars from 100% traceable, single origin cocoa beans, produce in small batches.  These dedicated folks are sourcing all their beans directly from small farmers in Tanzania, the Philippines, Equador, and Honduras, where they personally make regular visits to visit the farmers helping supply the beans for their products.  The essence of the “bean to bar” movement.

The team from Chocolate Secrets pleasing the crowd

The incredibly talented Chocolate Secrets, who produced not only some of the most daring and intriguing flavors at the show, but also the most visually stunning pieces of hand-painted chocolate I’ve seen in Dallas.

The secret was definitely out at Chocolate Secrets
A spectrum of show-stoppers from Sublime Chocolate

The sensuous flavors of Sublime Chocolates, whose ingenious flavor combinations received plenty of attention throughout the day (I mean, the people put bacon in their chocolate, c’mon).

Dr. Sue and family, I wish my doctor could prescribe chocolate

Dr. Sue’s Chocolates, whose owner, Sue Williams M.D., was not satisfied with saving the lives of patients, and took to chocolate making.  She provided some of the most exceptional chocolate barks I’ve had in recent memory.

Elegantly Chocolate in Carrollton, providing premium handcrafted chocolates…

Wiseman House Chocolates from the Texas Hill country…

As well as CocoAndre, Toffee Treats, and Callebaut Chocolates.

A grand time was had by all, and after nearly eating my weight in chocolate, I left the conference a little wiser, slightly heavier, and a good deal happier.  This is one event I’ll be sure not to miss for years to come.


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