Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a big fan of artisanal chocolates. And since my blog is all about discovering culinary underdogs and foodie gems, The Chocolate Invitational proved to be a one-stop shop for just that. An on-going series of events focusing on chocolate awareness, Mikki Sage and Ashley Walsh (her father started Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate) founded the Invitational as an arena for chocolate vendors and the local creative community to share their products with eager chocolate aficionados. I had the opportunity to meet some truly great people who were proud and passionate about their work. I also got to try some truly fantastic treats, and not just chocolate! In addition to the chocolate vendors, in attendance were healthy snack food producers such as Just Pure Foods, tea from Bhakti Chai, flavored liqueurs from Art in the Age and even a Moonshine vendor. A roving group of Lucille Ball impersonators, a stilt walker and a teepee set up for tea tastings and meditations all contributed to this very entertaining day.
The event took over the grounds of a beautiful Malibu ranch and transformed it into a fun vintage styled festival. It was a foodie’s paradise. The location was a calming change of pace from the usual city hustle and bustle and it was nice to step out of Los Angeles proper and spend a few relaxed hours unwinding with some good swing music, hot Chai tea and some really fantastic chocolates.
Some standout vendors were Coracao Confections which offered amazingly addictive gluten free, soy free, dairy free raw cacao truffles. Just Pure Foods, which makes delicious, healthy snack food alternatives like Spicy Jalapeño Tomato Chips, Chocolate Kale and Zucchini Chips and Amella Caramels who somehow managed to make caramels that are perfectly sweet and chewy without getting all stuck in my teeth!
To give you an idea of what the event was like, here’s a short video recap from my experience.
The events are held sporadically throughout the year at varying locations, be sure to follow them on Facebook to be looped in about the next delicious gathering.
For a list of sponsors and vendors, click their web page.