Local chocoholics, your day has finally come. On Sunday, October 25, Newburgh’s Motorcyclepedia Museum will welcome The Chocolate Expo. First started in 2006 by event producer Marvin Baum to showcase an ever-growing variety of chocolate concoctions, this is the first time the event will be held in the mid-Hudson Valley.
Baum has enjoyed great success by letting chocolate lovers sample all the latest crazes — chocolate and wine, triple-chocolate beignets with caramel, chocolate barbecue sauces, chocolate and bacon, and even chocolate-scented bath products for total immersion. Last year, his four chocolate expos (Long Island; Secaucus, New Jersey; and Hartford and Norwalk, Connecticut) drew 30,000 visitors, and made it the second biggest combined chocolate event in the country, after the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival in San Francisco.
Bonbon bonanza! Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates will delight expo attendees
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Baum expects 60 vendors at the Newburgh event, with many coming from the region or from the rest of New York state. He’s also optimistic that there will be a good turnout. “This is a region that has become one of the greatest culinary destinations in the US. And if you look at what’s happening in Newburgh, particularly at the waterfront with new restaurants, the city was a natural choice for us to expand,” he says. Why chocolate? “It makes people feel good,” says Baum. “It brings back wonderful memories of holiday gatherings, Valentine’s Day, and going to a candy shop as a kid. People hear the word ‘chocolate’ and they perk up, whatever their age.” At his event on Long Island last March, 8,600 showed up in the middle of a major snowstorm, from elderly people with walkers and in wheelchairs to kids with their parents.
At the upcoming Expo, attendees will get to taste, smell, and purchase a host of well-known and debuting chocolate sweets and savories from local and regional vendors such as Rhinebeck’s Oliver Kita Chocolates and the Pretzel Princess from Port Jervis (whose pretzels come in 22 flavors including Dark Mint, Pina Colada, and Cookies & Cream). Some vendors are considered “pure” chocolatiers while others make hybrid pairings such as the chocolate wine from Pazdar Winery in Orange County, among the first to combine the ingredients, or An Artistic Taste, which will feature its Brussels sprouts infused with chocolate. Pika’s Farm Table will be there with their famous Belgian waffles, which here will be topped with chocolate sauce made onsite using imported Belgian pearl sugar. There will also be interactive activities such as dipping fruit, marshmallows, or Rice Krispies Treats in chocolate flowing from a fountain.
Guests can attend demonstrations with renowned celebrity chefs (from left) Lawrence Rosenberg, Barret Beyer, and Tony Albanese
Celebrity chefs including Lawrence Rosenberg, author of The Original Bacon Cookbook (Bacon Bites, 2014); Tony Albanese, from TV’s Cake Boss Season 1 and Cupcake Wars; and Barret Beyer of Hell’s Kitchen Season 11 will be on hand to talk and demonstrate favorites.
Baum’s own current go-to chocolate — Raw Chocolate Love’s dark unsweetened bars, which he buys at a health-food store near his home in Rockland County, will also be available. “They’re healthy, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and organic without refined chocolate,” he says. Plus, “they taste good.”
The Chocolate Expo will be held October 25, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh, south of Broadway (Rte 17K). The museum, which will be open during the expo, celebrates the history of motorcycles with more than 500 bikes, photographs, posters, memorabilia, and machinery.
If you go…
The Chocolate Expo
When: Sunday, October 25, 2015 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Where: Motorcyclepedia Museum, 250 Lake St. (Rte. 32), Newburgh
Cost: $15, $10 children 3-12, children under 3 free