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  Patsy Bell Hobson
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Don't Miss This!
eurekachocfest.org

Chocolate Lovers' Festival February 11, 2006


A fragrant and seductive river of chocolate delights are flowing through the Ozarks as the Chocolate Lovers Festival brings out the whoís who of amateur and professional Ozarks chocolatiers this February.

In 2005, about 1,500 chocolate aficionados poured into the first annual Eureka Springs Chocolate Lovers Festival. Increased numbers of contest entries are being divided into professional and amateur divisions in 2006. The festival is a Valentine tribute to chocolate and lovers of chocolate.

Chocolate lovers can satiate their cravings while supporting a good cause. Weekend festivities include a chocolate feast, and "best of" contests for amateur and professional chocolatiers, sculptors, bakers and candy makers.

The festival is filled with sensual experiences. The best way to stretch the joys of a chocolate celebration into a full day of melt in your mouth experiences is to slowly savor every moment. Plan for the festival (reservation packages are available at Inn of the Ozarks and $10 event tickets are available at Clear Spring School. Go to www.eurekachocfest.org).

Walk through the doors and breath deeply. This serves two purposes; first it alerts your entire mind, body and spirit to the presence of chocolate. Second, it may prevent you from going into a feeding frenzy. Pace yourself. Remember, you can have all the chocolate you want.

Look around; take in all there is to see, smell, and taste. The glistening chocolates, the artfully designed sculptures, decorated cakes, stacks and stacks of chocolate bars. Pace yourself at the festival. In addition to all the chocolate you can eat, there are candy makers and sellers and a sampler of the coziest (and tastiest) B&Bs in town.

Checkout your sources, know where to get more later. Commercial chocolate vendors will have plenty of product samples and will help find nearby retail resources wherever you live. Chocolate lovers always need a steady supply near by. Vendors can help.

Hosts will be circulating with trays of homemade and locally made sweets and treats. Friends and neighbors may recognize some of the local favorite chocolate specialties. Visitors and guests will have the opportunity to sample the best homemade treats continually delivered to you on trays.

The Eureka Springs Bed & Breakfast association will sponsor a buffet style table of handmade chocolate treats. Every luscious chocolate-filled tray sit beside information about the Bed & Breakfast sponsor.

Just to prepare, letís go over our Chocolate Lovers Festival strategy so far.

Stop, Look and Listen. Pause, breath slowly and deeply, scope out the territory. That trickling sound may be the Springs of Eureka, or it may be the trickle of the two chocolate fountains.

Remember to bring a camera, or a camera phone, a pen and note pad, and a heavy winter coat. Take pictures of the creatively designed chocolate sculpture and cakes. You might want to write down the secrets of Arkansasís best chocolatiers.

To recap, stop, visualize, take a deep breath. Keep the pen and paper in hand at all times and be sure to take lots of pictures. And donít forget your coat. Chocolate must be kept cool.

If Iíve sufficiently slowed you down to truly appreciate the chocolate lovers festival; to take in the rich visual and olfactory experiences and; you have your hands filled with cameras, pencils, papers, small recording devices, and your big bulky winter coat, it may, just may, slow you down enough that I can get to the head of the line. See you there.

Details are online at www.eurekachocfest.org or by phone at 479-253-7888.

2005 Winning Cake Entry


Minimum Daily Requirement

The Spaniards first introduced Europeans to cacao when they discovered Aztecs using cacao not only as a drink but also for trade and money. Cortez wrote a letter to Charles V of Spain calling chocolate "The divine drink which builds up resistance & fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits man to walk for a whole day without food."

If you need a reason to consume chocolate: eating 2 ounces (50 grams) of plain chocolate a day (with a minimum content of 70% chocolate solids) can be beneficial to your health, by providing protection against heart disease and high blood pressure as well as essential minerals and nutrients such as iron, calcium and potassium, and vitamins A. B1, C, D, and E. There are roughly 85 to 150 calories per ounce. A 1Ĺ-ounce square of chocolate may have as many cancer-fighting antioxidants as a five-ounce glass of red wine.

Cortezí observation may have been right; chocolate does contain stimulants, primarily theobromine, caffeine and serotonin. Research indicates that cacao consumption produces a harmless euphoria.

Americans consume about 12 pounds of chocolate per capita per year. Many consumers at the Eureka Springs Chocolate Lovers Festival consider that number an underestimate.






 

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