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I didn’t know what to expect when attending ChocolateFest 2017 at the Oregon Convention Center in NE Portland. Lots of free samples of chocolate? Wine? Yes, that was all available, but I also got to try chocolate tea, ciders, local spirits and ice cream and smell delicious candles and potpourri.

The best part of ChocolateFest is it’s a fundraiser for the World Forestry Center, which produces ChocolateFest using its own staff and does not use an outside event services team. Therefore, 100 percent of the proceeds go right back to their mission of educating about the world’s forests, trees and environmental sustainability.

In 2006 ChocolateFest was created as a fundraiser that would not only give visits a chance to try delicious chocolate, but educate about the tropical cacao tree and how chocolate is made from bean to bar.

Creo chocolate, one of the many delicious vendors, had samples of cacao itself.

“Simply twist the nut and eat whats inside. It’s chocolate without the added sugar.”

They informed me of the benefits of pure cacao and how it is considered a superfood full of nutritious, natural ingredients. They also let us sample chocolate tea, which was bitter, but super delicious.

Stopping by to try samples from Portland Chocolate Mob was one of the best decisions of the evening. Melt in your mouth salted caramel chocolate is the best way to describe it, making the tiny squares full of delicious caramel flavor hard to resist.

Honey Mama’s was another favorite. Their chocolate bars are made using only five whole food, nutrient-rich ingredients: raw honey, cacao powder, coconut oil, sea salt, and either sprouted almonds or shredded coconut. That’s it! They’re committed to using only the highest quality direct–trade, non–GMO, and organic ingredients that are also out of this world delicious.

It wouldn’t be ChocolateFest without stopping by Hood River’s own, Naked Winery where their Climax red blend helped cleanse my chocolatey palette. Just a few sips and it was time to try more chocolate.

CocoTutti definitely took the cake (chocolate?). They produce delicious, colorful, art filled, individual chocolates.  Many of their recipes start with their housemade jams and marmalades – which start with organic fruit from their local farmers’ market.  Their nut filled items start with their housemade peanut or hazelnut butter.  And their tea infusions utilize processes that they’ve created – maximizing the tea flavor, while preventing bitterness. Our favorite? Bourbon filled chocolate. 

ChocolateFest infuses flavor and a good cause. It’s a no brainer. ChocolateFest was a wonderful learning and delicious experience! It’s not just sampling chocolates and wines, it’s learning about what you are actually eating. I learned about what cacao actually is and the benefits of it. I took so much knowledge home with me…and chocolates!

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