Chocolate made from beans was a big draw at the Dallas Chocolate Festival on Sept. 8 at the Fashion Industry Gallery in downtown Dallas.
“I started hearing the stories about people that [sic] are making chocolate in 50 pound batches in their basement from the beans and I thought that was awesome,” founder of Dallas Chocolate Sander Wolf said.
Seventy-one booths showcased a wide range of chocolates such as bean-to-bar. Bean-to-bar chocolate is a fairly new practice. It comes from beans that are made into a paste and then a chocolate bar. The Chocolate Festival began nine years ago with only a couple chocolate businesses making bean-to-bar until Wolf started noticing more chocolatiers in Dallas.
“I’m always surprised by how much its growing, not the festival so much but by how many more bean to bar chocolate makers there are and how many more people in the world learn about craft chocolate,” Wolf said.
Almost 2000 people attended the annual festival.
Wolf started the festival because of his love for chocolate and the people who make it. The festival now features booths from not only Dallas but other places in the U.S. along with Mexico and Ecuador. Mucho Chocolate is based in Mexico City and is a bean-to-bar family chocolate business that was featured in the festival.
“Where all the bean-to-bar is made, that’s actually in my basement,” said daughter of Mucho Chocolate owner Beatriz De Pirro.
Wolf has noticed that more people in Dallas have started making bean-to-bar chocolate. He credits the growth of the festival to the inviting atmosphere of chocolate-lovers and the growing industry as more people are learning about bean-to-bar and craft chocolate.
Dallas Chocolate Festival returners Nora Hamed and Arlene Antis have also noticed a growth with the festival.
“There’s [sic] more people, every year its gets busier, there’s [sic] more of a variety of vendors also,” Hamed said.
Hamed and Antis are Dallas residents who have been to the festival for the past three years.
“Kate Weiser is my favorite, I go to her store all the time,” Antis said.
Kate Weiser’s chocolates are especially beautiful because they are hand-painted and completely made of chocolate product. Kate Weiser Chocolate is one of the decorative chocolate businesses that has been featured at the festival for the past 4 years.
“The chocolate community is so tight-knit. We all know each other and we all want to encourage each other to do the best that we can,” said Kate Weiser sous chef Elizabeth Sanie.
The positivity of the chocolate makers and chocolate lovers contributes to the growth of the industry. Chocolate festivals throughout the world also help more people learn about bean-to-bar and craft chocolate. The Chocolate Festival created an opportunity for all people to learn about chocolate and for small businesses to come together to showcase their specialties.