How much do you love chocolate? Enough to spend the entire weekend eating it in different recipes and confections? So do we.
Beginning this Friday at 7PM, the largest artisan chocolate event in North America, The Northwest Chocolate Festival, will offer 86 culinary and education workshops, tastings, classes and presentations here in Seattle on Pier 66 at the Bell Harbor Conference Center.
As the exclusive coffee sponsor this year, Caffe Vita will sample from three coffee bars, one on each level of the festival. In addition to our cold brew, a blend of Peruvian and Indonesian coffee, each bar will feature a different one of our single origin coffees- the Kenya Kiandu, Nicaragua La Esperanza and Ethiopia Lelisa Hara- all released within the last month, stop by each bar for a taste. And of course, there will be chocolate involved, join our seminar for a special coffee and chocolate pairing experience with Intrigue Chocolate.
Before deciding which sessions to attend at the festival, read up on the eight presenters, all notable bigwigs from the chocolate world, that we can’t wait to see:
Fran Bigelow, Founder, Fran’s Chocolates
Fran Bigelow, founder of Seattle-Based Fran’s Chocolates, is a pioneer of the American artisan confectioner revival.32 years ago, she openedher first patisserie and chocolate shop and is now considered one of the best chocolatiers in the nation. Fran just moved her factory from Capitol Hill to Georgetown in the old Rainier Brewery today, which is also her birthday. HBD, Fran!
Chloe Doutre-Roussel, International Fine Chocolate Expert
Chloe Doutre-Roussel is the author of the book The Chocolate Connoisseur and travels worldwide giving conferences on chocolate education. Since 2007, She has voluntarily collaborated with the El Ceibo cooperative of native cacao growers in Bolivia, launching the only chocolate brand 100% produced from tree to packed fine chocolate products to date, exported worldwide. A true innovator in the chocolate world, Chloe is widely considered one of the foremost experts in the field.
Alice Medrich, Award-Winning Author, Pastry Chef & Teacher
Alice Medrich is one of the country’s foremost experts on chocolate and chocolate desserts, and the author of the IACP award-winning book, Bittersweet with the revised version Seriously Bittersweet, now available. Since 1976, when she opened her renowned dessert shop, Cocolat, Alice’s unique recipes and insistence on quality ingredients have influenced a generation of confectioners, pastry chefs and home cooks. She is also credited with popularizing chocolate truffles in the US!
Maricel Presilla, Award-Winning Chef, Author, Culinary Historian, New York
Maricel Presilla is a culinary historian specializing in the foods of Latin America and Spain. She is the president of Gran Cacao Company, a Latin American food research and marketing company that specializes in the sale of premium cacao beans from Latin America. Maricel’s latest book is The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Chocolate with Recipes was released in 2001. She has also completed a comprehensive Latin American cookbook for W.W. Norton and contributed articles to Saveur, Food & Wine, Food Arts, and Gourmet.
John Scharffenberger, Co-Founder, Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker
Co-founding San Francisco-based Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker in 1997, John Scharffenberger created America’s first contemporary artisan chocolate manufacturer. At the time, his business was the first new American bean-to-bar chocolatier in over 50 years. John’s pioneering spirit and vision has made him one of the world’s leading chocolate experts, opening the door to an explosion of new and exciting chocolate makers processing cocoa beans in-house throughout the U.S. and around the world.
Emily Stone, Social Entrepreneur, Belize & Guatemala
Emily Stone is part of a new breed of social entrepreneur representing hundreds of farmers in Central America. Based in Guatemala, she is co-founder and CEO of Maya Mountain Cacao (Belize), Cacao Verapaz (Guatemala), and the Uncommon Cocoa Group. Emily’s focus on farm direct sourcing of organic cacao from indigenous Maya smallholder farming families has inspired more than 10 chocolate companies had completely transparent business transactions. Her many accolades include awards from the World Wildlife Fund, the William James Foundation, and more.
Alex Whitmore, Co-Founder, Taza Chocolate, Boston MA
In 2005, Taza Chocolate co-founder Alex Whitmore traveled to Oaxaca to steep himself in the history and culture of Mexico where he had his first taste of earthy and intense cacao. Inspired — some might say possessed — he learned how to hand-carve granite millstones and returned home determined to start a chocolate factory dedicated to crafting artisan, Mexican-style chocolate in the United States. Whitmore co-founded Taza Chocolate in 2006 outside Boston. Alex is currently forging new, direct trade routes for sourcing cacao from Belize, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic.
Gillian Goddard, Founder, Sun Eater Organics, Trinidad & Tobago
Gillian Goddard is a long-term agitator in the fields of organics, sustainability and community empowerment around the Caribbean and North America. In the mid 2000′s Gillian started the first organic shop in Trinidad and Tobago before establishing an organic café and member owned co-op. In 2012 she co-founded Soular – an organic food production company, from which Sun Eaters Organics was born. Sun Eaters Organics is interested in teaching chocolate making to communities traditionally involved in cacao growing and production.