Written By Christina Duane
Copyright Purpose Media
come to Ashland for many reasons. Many across
the country associate it with the Oregon Shakespeare
Festival. Others love Southern Oregon outdoors
and combine white water rafting escapade with
wine tasting in the Rogue Valley. For others Ashland
is just a sweet place to getaway after a busy
week, where abundance of world-class spas, boutique
shops and fine restaurants can seriously hurt
once wallet. In the last couple of years Ashland
has also established itself as the capital of
all things chocolate! Over the course of one weekend
in March Ashland welcomes over 40 chocolate companies
at the annual Oregon Chocolate Festival.
festival is completely dedicated to Oregon chocolatiers
and their amazing creations. Vendors present a
variety of fine chocolates and chocolate-inspired
products that tease taste buds of over 1500 visitors.
might have heard about Dagoba or Lillie Belle
Farms. These are well established and nationally
recognized chocolatiers, who originated right
here in the Rogue Valley. Expect to meet them
this year together with some less known companies
including Sipping Dreams, Love Bucket Baking Co,
Stirs the Soul Organic Raw Chocolates, BaBam Sweets
& Treats and many other. Don't they all have great
names! That's just the beginning. Wait to taste
their products. Try unique combinations, flavor
profiles, and decadent infusions with truffles,
bars, crunchy toffees, marshmallows, drinking
chocolate, chocolate flavored cheeses, chewy cookies,
sauces and syrups, chocolate covered nuts, ice
cram and other gooey, delicious goodness. Oregon
Chocolate Festival vendors will be here to tickle
your palate on Saturday and Sunday, March 3-4,
sampling and purchasing chocolate, this year's
festival offers visitors a wonderful line up of
events. Some of the events have a limited space
and require reservations in advance, so look them
over and reserve your space soon.
great prelude to the weekend long chocolate activities
is the CHOCOLATE MAKER'S DINNER scheduled
on Friday night at the Ashland Springs Hotel.
Two executive chefs from Larks Restaurant, Kate
Cyr and David Georgeson, partnered in creating
a delightful four-course dinner featuring chocolate
in each dish. Reservations for this event are
required and it sells out fast.
month Ashland Gallery Association organizes the
First Friday Art Walk. Check out Ashland
galleries on Friday of the festival weekend and
enjoy diverse forms of art, local wines and of
to come to the festival with kids? Check out "The
Science of Chocolate" Kids' event at the ScienceWorks
Hands on Museum. Children get to learn about the
'bean to bar' process of making chocolate. It's
an interactive event full of hands-on activities,
fun and yummy surprises. The event is suitable
for families and children of all ages. Museum
fees apply. Free for museum members.
The hotel offers another great attraction for
the adults - Chocolate Facial Martini Spa Party
- two hours of delicious cocktails and pampering!
The Waterstone Spa estheticians will lead you
through giving yourself a delicious and nutritious
chocolate facial. Don't want to do it yourself?
Then call Waterstone Spa & Salon to schedule blissful
chocolate massage, facial, sugar scrub or even
something called chocolate pedicure!
addition to the tastings and treats offered throughout
the weekend, festival goers can attend number
of educational presentations and demos. Learn
from experts about the history and mystery of
chocolate. What makes it so attractive to us humans?
More information available on hotel website.
the festival, guest judges will pick their favorites
and award them the title of the Best Chocolate
Product in the following categories:
Non-Traditional & Innovative Use of Chocolate
Raw Chocolate Product
get a chance to vote for your favorite product,
too. Make sure to participate in the 2012 People's
about combining chocolate activities with theatre?
Shakespeare Festival is offering a 50% discount
during the festival weekend. Just call OSF box
office and mention 'chocolate'. Ph: 800-219-8161.
are you convinced yet? Have you marked your calendar
and told all your family and friends that you
will be unavailable the weekend of March 2-4?
Take them with you and celebrate all things chocolate!
See you in Ashland!
tickets $20 can be purchased at the Ashland
2012 festival information will become available
on hotel website in early December. www.AshlandSpringsHotel.com
In the meantime, become Oregon Chocolate Festival