Thursday, October 1, 2009

BlogHer Food '09 Part Two: The Chocolate Adventure

Just a brief note before we begin the adventure ... I know everyone is thirsty on Thursday, and I promise we'll return to our regular cocktail feature next week.

Today, I want to tell you about our chocolate adventure at BlogHer Food '09. Yes, it involves that mysterious chocolate box I mentioned yesterday. And, yes, it was even better than it looks!

During the afternoon break, we were treated to an "out of the box chocolate adventure" by Chef Elizabeth Faulkner (pictured above) of Citizen Cake. The demo was sponsored by one of my all time favorite brands, Scharfen Berger Chocolate, and TuttiFoodiecom. Color me delighted!

Undoubtedly, you will have recognized Chef Faulkner from her many appearances on Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, as well as The Food Network and Martha Stewart Living. I can tell you, she's every bit as dynamic in person as she appears on TV, and twice as nice. In addition to her winning personality, I can now attest to her culinary charms. Naturally, she had me at "chocolate" ... but she didn't stop there.

Scharffen Berger and TuttiFoodie used Elizabeth's demo as the vehicle for announcing this year's Chocolate Adventure Contest - and what a trip it was! Chef Faulkner filled three solid chocolate boxes with such an astounding mix of sticky, gooey, chocolaty, spicy goodness that I'm at a loss to describe it. Honestly, it was intoxicating!

In short, The Chocolate Adventure Contest invites entrants to combine any variety of Scharffen Berger Chocolate with one of 16 exotic ingredients to create a unique taste adventure in the categories of both savory and sweet. Not content to use just one or two of the suggested ingredients, Chef Faulkner used 11! So many, that I can't even recall the list. Here's what I can tell you ... she made her own marshmallows and began layering them in the box, along with chile spiced chocolate sauce, salted caramel, cumin spiced toffee, pretzels, corn nuts, another sauce laced with Malbec wine ... and who knows what else?!

She then invited us to play with our food and play, we did! We each donned a rubber glove and dove into the box, extracting a handful of that yummy concoction and devouring it straight off of our fingers! While some members of the audience seemed a bit hesitant to give it a go, trust me, I needed no second invitation. Frankly, after tasting it, it was all I could do not to shove everyone out of the way and abscond with that box to my room. Really! It was just that good. Picture an explosion of every delicious thing you've ever eaten and you'll get the gist.

I can't thank Chef Faulkner enough for providing us with such a fun, delicious and truly unexpected taste adventure. It rocked!

And now, I'd like to invite you to play with your food too! Enter The Chocolate Adventure Contest and you could win one of two grand prizes, each totaling $10,000! One prize will be awarded in the savory category and one in the sweet. The list of adventure ingredients are as follows:
  • Fresh Mint (any variety)
  • Fresh or Crystallized Ginger
  • Pandan Leaf
  • Banana Leaf
  • Sumac
  • Raw Honey
  • Cacao Nibs
  • Malbec
  • Peanut Butter
  • Fresh or Whole Dried Chile Pepper
  • Black-Eyed Peas
  • Rice Flour
  • Papaya
  • Cumin
  • Paprika (any varietal)
  • Smoked Sea Salt
Use one, use them all, the sky's the limit! For more information, rules of the contest, and a list of previous winners, visit The Chocolate Adventure Contest. Entries must be received by January 3, 2010.

So, which of these ingredients would you use in your concoction? Curious Diva wants to know.

Good luck!


The Duo Dishes said...

Pb, mint, honey and cumin sound kinda fun actually! You know, that chocolate fun box brings to mind many things about playing with your food. Looks like it was fun.

words...words...words... said...


The Diva on a Diet said...

Duo - you guys should totally enter, you'd rock this thing! :)

words words words - I know, right?! Sorry to do that when you're getting all lean and mean. LOL

Laura said...

I could NOT get into the chocolate thing. It was kind of gaggy watching everybody eat it but I hear it was amazing.

So Heather and I want to come spend blogher w/you next summer :D

Miss Caught Up said...

Oh my... You had me at "Chocolate" too!! I wish I could enter, but cooking isn't exactly my specialty. :(

gfe--gluten free easily said...

I was a Scharffen Berger virgin before that conference. Now there's no going back. LOL It's just not sold around here ... that's the only kind of chocolate I don't "know."

I did not get to sample the chocolate fun box as it was not gluten free. I was wondering if it was Faulkner's idea or not. She didn't really look thrilled to be serving it that way, but I was not there at the beginning of her presentation.

The contest sounds very intriguing. I wonder how many people will enter. Since we raise bees, I'd have to use some of their raw honey. I cook and bake with honey as much as possible. :-)


Fresh Local and Best said...

I would have been in 7th heaven to have been able to shovel all that chocolate into my mouth! LOL!

Ann (Healthy Tasty Chow) said...

I am sooooooo jealous!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Oooooooh, that sound like so much fun.

Christie's Corner said...

I could get into this kind of thing. As long as I didn't have to clean up afterwards.

And a chocolate contest? Thanks so much for the link. You know I'm gonna have to do something with ginger...

Erika said...

I couldn't get close enough to the chocolate box to taste it...looked delicious (messy, though, to be sure). As for the contest, I keep thinking about my favorite new friend, smoked paprika....

stephchows said...

it sounds like so much fun!! Now i'm wondering if we will be doing anything OTHER than eating at the foodbuzz fest... hmmm

The Diva on a Diet said...

Laura - OMG, yes! Please come for BlogHer '10!! I'm planning to go and heaven knows we food bloggers will have to stick together. We'll have a blast! ;)

MCU - yeah, but you're working on it, right?! LOL

Shirley - you're right, there is no going back, SB chocolate is addictive! I've been a fan ever since my first trip to SF, and though I was sad to learn they were bought out by Hershey's, the quality hasn't changed, and the availability has increased.

Funny, I got the impression that EF was having a good time with the chocolate box. And, as for the bees and honey ... wow, lucky you! You have fresh honey all the time. That is SO cool!

Fresh Local Best - hello and welcome to Beach Eats! It truly was heavenly. A bit weird to eat something off of a surgical glove ... but SO worth it!

Ann - perhaps we'll see you at the next one?! I hope so. :)

HH - you would have loved it! And afterward, your little hamster would be working over-time! LOL

Charmian - the beauty was there was not clean up, slip the glove off your hand and voila! They gave us some crystallized ginger along with the chocolate and some chile peppers ... so I may well go in that direction myself.

Erika - oh no, you didn't get a taste?! I was rather demure and didn't stick my whole arm in there ... which I now regret. ;) Smoked paprika would be wonderful. I adore that stuff too.

Steph - I went to the open house at FoodBuzz on Friday night (which was great fun) and they were telling me that in planning for their festival, they opted to offer a foodie experience rather than the type of thing offered by BlogHer. Actually, I think its a wise choice because there's something to be said for both.

You're going to have a blast in Nov. and I'm really regretting that I can't go too. :(

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading your recaps of the Blogher conference, sounds like it was a blast! The chocolate contest sounds neat, will check it out. We are lately obsessed about cacao nibs here.