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Fairchild's 6th Annual International Chocolate Festival
Fairchild's 6th Annual International Chocolate Festival

Note: This event has already taken place. If you are interested in learning about current and upcoming Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Events, click here.

When: Friday, January 20, 2012 - Sunday, January 22, 2012 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Where: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Indulge in chocolate delicacies during the season's most delicious event!

  • Enjoy fine chocolate samples from artisan chocolatiers
  • Take our Chocowalk to learn about the life cycle of a cacao plant, with stops in our Rainforest and more.
  • Find out everything you ever needed to know about chocolate from the experts at Mars, Inc. with From Bean to Bar
  • Watch master chocolatiers and chefs demonstrating recipes with chocolate 
  • Attend lectures on the chocolate making, chocolate history, science and more
  • Sip hot chocolate surrounded by the beauty of Fairchild

View video and photos of past International Chocolate Festivals to see what makes this event so special.

Download a pdf of the full program

Download a pdf of the recipes featured at the festival

Chef Demonstrations 


12:00 p.m.        Short Chef
                            Chocolate Chicken Quesadillas and
                            Salad with Cacao Bean Dressing

2:00 p.m.         Alejandra Bigai, Romanico’s Chocolate
                          Basics for Chocolate Connoisseurs


11:00 a.m.       Chef Allen Susser, West Indian Chocolate Tea
                           and Great Chocolate Chip Cookies 

12:00 p.m.       Chef Loren Pultizer, Meals that Heal
                           Carob Brownies (Vegan, Raw, Gluten Free and Delicious!)

1:00 p.m.         Whole Foods Market Heath Starts Here Chef Jessica
                           Health Starts Here Chocolate Mousse and
                           Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

2:00 p.m.         Chef Ze Carlos Jimenez, MexZican Gourmet Food Truck 
                           Marinas de Mole


12:00 p.m.       Chef Franck Monnier, Atelier Monnier 
                           Parisian Macarons

1:00 p.m.         Executive Pastry Chef Max Santiago, Tuyo
                           Chocolate 3 Ways: Toast, Butter, Vinaigrette      

2:00 p.m.        Chef Andrea Curto-Randazzo, Creative Tastes Catering
                           Dark Chocolate “Thin Mint” Panna Cotta

3:00 p.m.         Chef Chris Bulgarin, Delicious Catering 
                           Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin with Dark Chocolate BBQ Sauce

Lectures (Corbin Classroom A)


10:00 a.m.       Santiago Peralta, Pacari Chocolates
                          Pacari: Making World-Class Chocolate in Ecuador

11:00 a.m.       Osman Ariel Guitierrez, Research Geneticist USDA-IRS
                           Molecular Breeding in Cacao

12:00 p.m.        Noris Ledesma, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden 
                            The Chocolate Persimmon:  The Aztec Fountain of Youth

1:00 p.m.          Maricel Presilla, Ph.D Culinary Historian, Chef and Restaurant
                           Owner, Ecuador: The New Destination for Chocolate and Cooking  

2:00 p.m.          Freddy Amores, Fine Cocoa Production: A Tradition in Ecuador

3:00 p.m.*        Dr. Howard Yana Shapiro, Global Staff Officer Plant Science
                          and External Research, Mars, Inc., The History and Future
                          of the Cacao Crop, *Please note: this lecture will be held
                          in our Visitor Center Ballroom


11:00 a.m.        Georgia Tasker, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden 
                            Tea in Darjeeling    

12:00 p.m.        Dr. Richard Campbell, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
                           South Florida Chocolate Alternatives

 1:00 p.m.         Maricel Presilla, Culinary Historian, Chef and Restaurant Owner, 
                           Cooking and Traveling in Ecuador for the Love of Cacao

2:00 p.m.          Santiago Peralta, Pacari Organic Chocolate
                           Ecuador: Soaring to New Heights in Chocolate

3:00 p.m.*        Dr. Howard Yana Shapiro, Global Staff Officer Plant Science and 
                           External Research MARS, Inc, The History and Future of the
                           Cacao Crop, *Please note: this lecture will be held in
                           our Visitor Center Ballroom

The Historic Division of Mars, Inc. Presents From Bean to Bar

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about making chocolate with an interactive presentation from the experts at Mars, Inc. Learn about chocolate from early Colonial times to the present and how production has changed. You can also sample their delicious hot chocolate from an ancient recipe.

Experience the Choco-Walk

Explore the history and lure of caco by taking the Choco-Walk through the Rainforest, Conservatory Edible Garden and The Shop at Fairchild. Kids can get a ChocoPassport that they can get stamped.

Chocolate Beer Sampling

Taste chocolate beers and beers that pair well with chocolate at Gold Coast Beverage's beer tent.  They will be sampling:

  Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
  Brooklyn Brown
  Bells Kalamazoo Stout
  Abita Turbo Dog

*While supplies last

Plant Sales

Take home your cacao tree and start making chocolate in your own kitchen! Or grab a chocolate Oncidium “Sharry Baby” orchid!  

Chocolate Yoga with Rina Yoga (near the Kid Way)

 Saturday and Sunday

10:30 – 11:15 a.m.        Yoga for Adults  
1:30 – 2:00 p.m.            Little Rina Yogis for kids


All Day

Cacao and Tropical Rainforests: Learn the relationship that the cacao plant holds within rainforests. Does the cacao tree stand alone? Or do monkeys and fungi grow with it? How does sunlight affect the plant?  And don’t forget to check Fair Trade products and learn what you can do protect places where cacao grows.

Edible Garden: Discover how to make chocolate from scratch. Get a first hand look at the cacao pod and what sets go into creating chocolate. 


12:00 p.m.       Storytime with G.G. Hall, Educator and Author of Hershey-A Tale of a Curious House Rabbit.  Join Hershey the Rabbit for an interactive storytime and puppet show!

 1:00 p.m.          Short Chef, Fun Cooking with Chocolate  


11:30 a.m.        Dr. Marisel Presilla presents The Secret of Chocolate, an Interactive Workshop for Kids of all ages. 

12:00 p.m.        Storytime with G.G. Hall, Educator and Author of Hershey-A Tale of a Curious House Rabbit.  Join Hershey the Rabbit for an interactive storytime and puppet show!

1:00 p.m.          Short Chef, Fun Cooking with Chocolate   

 Bike Valet

Green Mobility Network will be here Saturday and Sunday offering their unique bike valet service at the South Gate. Bike and $5! If you walk or ride your bike to Fairchild, you will receive $5 off the admission price for adults and $2 for children. It's our way of thanking you for contributing to conservation. 



Become a sponsor today!

Mini Chocolate Cup Cakes with Chocolate Malted Butter Cream and Crunchy Almond-Bacon Streusel

Admission: Free for Fairchild Members and children 5 and under.

Non-members: $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and up and $12 for children 6-17. 

Eco-discount: If you walk, ride your bike or take public transportation to Fairchild, receive $5 off admission for adults and $2 off admission for children. Members, remember to bring your Rewards Card to earn your gift passes! 

Military Discount: We are pleased to offer active military personnel free admission. In addition, admission for spouses is $20 and children $10. Please present Military IDs.


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