Get to know chocolate at Morton Arboretum
By Laura Amann For Sun-Times Media January 31, 2013 9:42AM
The Morton Arboretum is hosting a Chocolate Expo Feb. 2-3.
Chocolate Expo & Market
♦ Feb. 2-3
♦ Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
♦ (630) 968-0074
Updated: January 31, 2013 11:56AM
If you thought chocolate was mainly the stuff of candy bars and cakes, you’re in for a surprise at the Chocolate Expo at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 2-3 at the Morton Arboretum.
In addition to delectable truffles, candies and cookies, prepare to sample exotic and unusual pairings: chocolate balsamic vinaigrette, chocolate salami, chocolate fruit spread, chocolate martinis and a braised short rib with chocolate demi glace.
If traditional chocolate is more your style, delve into whoopee pies and “Puffs of Doom” cream puffs. There will be fair-trade and organic chocolate bars and gluten-free bakery items.
All this chocolate is a balm during these cold, dark days of winter. And not-so-coincidently, the expo is just in time for Valentine’s Day and Super Bowl parties.
This is the fourth year that the Morton Arboretum has hosted a Chocolate Expo and it’s growing in popularity and size.
“Every year we try to get new things,” said Anne Stratton, visitor programs coordinator at the Arboretum. “All vendors will offer tasting opportunities or samples and everything is for sale.”
This year, 19 vendors will set up booths and entice visitors with mouth-watering spins on a variety of chocolate-based products.
“By design we have award-winning chocolates which are very unique and then we have something for families that just want to bring something home,” Stratton said.
In addition to the vendors, there will be special presentations throughout the weekend. Kathy Bouchard of Chocolat du Bouchard will present on the healthy benefits of chocolate (with samples!) and Kevin Roblee of Kokku Gourmet will make chocolate and discuss the voyage of chocolate from the bean to the bar. For kids, there’s a session on identifying candy bars, including a blind taste test, and finally for the grown-ups, the always-popular chocolate martini.
“Chocolate is a great theme for the Arboretum because chocolate does come from trees,” said Stratton.
In addition to the expo, the entire month is devoted to all things chocolate. An interactive exhibit will be up in the lobby highlighting the growing, harvesting and production process of chocolate and its relationship to trees.
A few of the other programs offered in February include a truffle-making party, a beer and chocolate pairing class, a beer and wine pairing class, a kids’ candy house decorating class, and a brunch with a discussion of the history of Chicago’s candy industry.
The Chocolate Expo is free with Morton Arboretum admission and the programs that weekend are also free, but they are on a first-come, first-served basis with tickets distributed an hour in advance. Other programs in February are ticketed and can be reserved in advance.
For a complete list of chocolate offerings or to purchase tickets for an upcoming program, visit www.mortonarb.org or call (630) 968-0074.~.