The International Chocolate Show had so many vendors, I couldn't fit them all all into one post.
Jer's Chocolate of San Diego was probably one of my favorites. Also known as "the pioneer of gourmet peanut butter and chocolate", their "Cara Mella" bar took best in show: simple, smooth dark chocolate with peanut butter and caramel filling. It was so good, I felt it was my sworn duty to have some samples and then proceed to buy an obnoxious amount of it.
Cara Mella on the left. Guess who ate the last 2 pieces?
Jer's lets you place orders online, and they have a great assortment of gift boxes for the holidays. They have a new gift box called "Jer's Five Stack Peanut Butter Lovers Gift Tower" with 5 different kinds of boxes of peanut butter/chocolate confections. Let's just clarify that this isn't a gift "box," it's a gift "tower." Can you really go wrong with a gift tower of chocolate and pb? I think not.
Another vendor that caught my eye was Illinois Nut & Candy. They had beautiful chocolate covered apples, chocolate covered marshmallows, and meltaways on display – it was hard not to be enticed. However, I found out that this is not just your regular chocolate fare; Illinois Nut & Candy specializes in gluten-free, lactose-free, sugar-free, nut-free, and Kosher candies and chocolates. There were chocolate covered marshmallows on display (below) and they had gold and silver stickers on the back to let you know which one was lactose-free and gluten-free.
I think it's a smart idea, because food allergies seem to be more rampant than ever. I know a lot of people who can't eat gluten or lactose and they are forced to eat things that taste like bricks with powdered sugar on them. Now at least they'll finally have some tasty options, and the Illinois Nut & Candy site is color coded, so you know which product is void of which by-product.
I believe gold was for regular chocolate, and silver was non-dairy.
And lastly, who can forget the Chocolate Fashion Show? This woman's bodice, crown and parts of her veil were made of white chocolate. I don't know how she didn't melt, but she didn't move much so that probably helped.
I topped off the day with a free massage over by the Hershey booth. After 3 hours of chocolate binge-eating, I needed to take a break. I think next year they should put out futons so people can nap in between courses of Godiva cupcakes and chocolate liqueur.