Kristen Naeem | Signal Tribune
Chocolate enthusiasts walked up and down 2nd Street during the 16th Annual Belmont Shore Chocolate Festival on Saturday, Feb. 8 tasting cocoa-infused food samples that were given out by over 20 businesses.
During the festival, tickets were sold outside Chase Bank could be exchange for samples of chocolate at different businesses, costing $10 for every dozen. Businesses participating in the Chocolate Festival had stands set up in front of their stores, each with different types of chocolate foods, usually costing between one and three tickets.
Many eateries provided sweet confections that people might expect from a festival for chocolate, like Snow Monster’s macaroons sprinkled with toffee bits or Taco Shore’s churros, both drizzled with chocolate.
“We’ve gone through multiple trays so far,” Snow Monster employee Leia Everett told the Signal Tribune, “just [by myself] out here in the past half hour I’ve put three new ones.”
But other businesses incorporated the ingredient in more subtle ways, like Cheese Addiction’s Cup ‘o’ Chocolate Jack, with triangles of firm jack cheese covered by a thin, edible chocolate rind in a sample-size cup.
Chocolate was also added to the classic desserts of different cultures in honor of the festival. Braided koulourakia cookies were dipped in dark chocolate and chocolate chips were nestled between the thin layers of phyllo dough in the baklava at George’s Greek Cafe.
“We have a traditional Greek cookie which is called koulourakia, and it’s dipped in chocolate,” George’s Greek Cafe employee Brittany Lind told the Signal Tribune. “Then we have the traditional baklava, which also has chocolate chips in it for today, and then kataifi, which is basically the same ingredients as the baklava, it’s just shredded up instead of layered, and it also has chocolate chips in it for today.[…] They usually just have the regular ingredients but today we put chocolate for the chocolate festival.”
All of the pastries served by George’s Greek Cafe were made in-house, baked either the night or morning before the Chocolate Festival. According to Lind, approximately halfway through the festival the restaurant had already gone through around 12 trays, four for each of the three desserts.
Open Sesame also added a chocolate twist to another traditional Mediterranean treat. Turkish delight, a chewy gel like confection made from sugar, nuts and starch, was covered in a layer of dark chocolate and topped with rose petals, rather than with the traditional coat of powdered sugar.
As businesses on 2nd Street were preparing to serve chocolate to festival goers, the 16th Annual Chocolate Festival Homemade Dessert Contest took place. Ana Sofia Chavez won the Cakes & Pies category, Abbey White won the Cookies & Brownies category, Kent Eastman won the Unique Treats division and Mark Loehr won Best In Show. Dallis Griffith also won first place in the 17 and under competition.
The festival concluded with a series of chocolate pie eating contests, divided into different age categories. Rather than seeing how many pies contestants could eat, the contest was decided by who could eat a single personal sized pie the fastest. Hof’s Hut provided the chocolate pies.
The winner of the ages 9 through 11 category was Wesley Rockey, and the winner of the 12 to 17 year old category was Anthony Sandoval-Newton. The adult pie eating competition ended in a three way tie between Blaine Koenig and two competitors announced as Wes and Garrett.
The Belmont Shore Business Association organized the chocolatey event.