Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall Chocolate Festivals and Other Back-to-School Activities

Expedition in Oahu with Madre
If this post were a magazine article, I might call it "Falling into Chocolate." Or, more accurately, "Falling behind on Chocolate." But in what I can more or less identify as my adult life, there has always been a (productive) tension between writing that occupies a commercial space, intended to get people to do something or eat something or buy something, and writing that seems to occupy no space other than one in which a reader might find it interesting. Early this year, I was (pleasantly) surprised to find myself back in academia, teaching writing to the freshmen as they begin to negotiate what they might choose to call their own adult lives. And since then I have been dwelling in the latter space a bit more than the former.

So I missed this month's Northwest Chocolate Festival, though Sunita de Tourreil of the Chocolate Garage referred to the event as the "best (dare I call it ‘Happy’?) Chocolate Festival of the year, there is no other like it." The annual UK Chocolate Week starts October 14 in London, but I think I'll have to postpone my inaugural trip until next year. And though I'm very eager to get to Hawaii and see (and taste) what the volcanic soil is doing to the optimistic immigrant cacao trees, I won't be at Nat Bletter's Oahu Cacao Bootcamp in October either--though he does have another camp lined up for spring 2014 already.

At least while classes are in session, I'm sticking around in New York. Luckily, as has also been the case in London, chocolate has been at the forefront of the rather alarming surge in this urban area's local artisanal foods. I'm gladly resigning myself to the glut of Brooklyn bean-to-bar makers along with indulgent distractions such as the new Liddabit Sweets shop in the Chelsea Market.


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