The 4th annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival on January 23, a very fun event that benefits student scholarships, features a special guest this year: MasterChef Jake Gandolfo (I will feature more on Jake and details on his appearance in the next couple days). One element of the festival is the announcement of who wins the 2011 “Chocoholic of the Year” – there are five nominees; you can vote here.
The Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival brings more than 25 vendors to the Cocoanut Grove. Vendors range from local confectioners and bakers like Desperately Seeking Chocolate, Snake and Butterfly Chocolate, Original Sin Desserts, Chefany’s Cake Shoppe, and Marini’s Candies to businesses from other parts of the state and even other states (like Theo Chocolate from Washington). Tickets are available at the door or in advance at Bookshop Santa Cruz, and two UCSC locations: the Baytree Bookstore and Norrie’s Gift Shop at the Arboretum. Prices are $5 for three tastings, $10 for eight tastings, or $20 for 20 tastings.
Each vendor will have treats — including gourmet truffles, cookies and cupcakes — available in exchange for a tasting ticket. In addition to the tastes you can get in exchange for your tickets, selected vendors will be selling chocolate products including some suitable for Valentine’s Day like gift assortments.
This all benefits a very worthy cause: re-entry student scholarships at UC Santa Cruz (for students returning to higher education after an extended absence, often students who are also parents or military veterans).
Throughout this week I will publish several articles highlighting various vendors and telling you what they will be offering for your tasting pleasure next Sunday.
The 2011 chocolate festival will feature a demonstration of turning cacao beans into chocolate by Cabrillo College staff. Also, there will be live jazz by local band Hold Tight.
The chocolate festival is presented by the UCSC Women’s Club, a nonprofit organization open to women of both the campus and local communities. The club has meetings throughout the year (except for the summer) with engaging speakers, and also hosts interest groups including book clubs. In the last 30 years the club has raised more than $175,000 and awarded nearly 300 scholarships. In 2010, over 1,200 people attended the festival and $13,000 was raised for the re-entry scholarship program.
4th Annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival
Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz 95060
Sunday, January 23, 2011 from 1-4pm
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