Old Town Auburn promises a sweet Sunday with Taste of Chocolate
February is the month of love, and what goes better with a Valentine’s Day bouquet than the sweet taste of chocolate?
Taste of Chocolate, now in its seventh year, returns to Old Town Auburn Sunday afternoon, when chocolate lovers can sample the sweet stuff at more than 20 locations. The event is a collaboration of the Old Town Auburn Business Association and American Association of University Women. Proceeds are split between AAUW educational programs and the Medical Museum.
After the Old Town fire six years ago, business association President Linda Robinson started organizing Taste of Chocolate, an event that had been put on by the AAUW before.
“I wanted to bring something to Old Town that would kick off the first of the year and be fun, and something that would bring some attention to our district,” Robinson said.
The AAUW joined the effort again, and Taste of Chocolate has been a partnership ever since.
Robinson and AAUW’s Pam Hart are co-chairs of the event, which will feature raffles and other events in addition to chocolate. The Sugar Plump Fairies will be on hand with fairy antics and free hugs, and visitors will know which merchants are participating by the pink and red balloons outside their stores.
But the spotlight is on chocolate, and this year’s event is sure to satisfy. After checking in, participants will get a clear carry-out box to collect their tasty treasures.
“In the beginning we used Styrofoam to-go boxes, only to realize that the chocolate was so beautiful, it looked more like art!” Robinson said.
Robinson ticked off the list of chocolate treats offered, from triple-chocolate cupcake poppers, white chocolate and salted chocolate chip cookies to chocolate fondue, mint chocolate hearts, truffles and chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons.
There will even be a hands-on dipping demonstration by Terry Masten, a chef and Auburn Recreation District cooking instructor. She’ll teach people the professional technique of dipping chocolate, using imported dark chocolate and home-made shortbread cookies that people can dip and take with them.
“The technique I’m going to show them is a French cooking technique,” Masten said. “It’s a really professional technique, but it’s fun because it goes really fast and they can eat it right there if they want.”
In addition to serving chocolate-covered strawberries and hot vanilla tea, Clover & Carriage will hold a 15-percent-off sale storewide, according to owner Heather Olson. She’ll also host a St. Valentine’s Tea in the store’s party room the same day – call (530) 823-8500 for details.
This is Olson’s first time being involved with Taste of Chocolate, and she said she can’t wait to see what other merchants have to offer.
“We knew it would be a good community event for Old Town Auburn, and we always enjoy meeting new customers,” Olson said. “I think I might buy a ticket myself so I can go around and taste some chocolate.”
Robinson said having a chocolate-themed event makes sense considering the date’s proximity to Valentine’s Day.
“Besides, the theobromine (the chemical in chocolate) has a positive effect on how people feel,” she said. “It’s a feel-good event.”
Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seventh annual Taste of Chocolate
When: Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12
Where: Old Town Auburn. Check-in stations are Marybelle’s Restaurant, 1590 Lincoln Way, Auburn, and the Placer County Courthouse in Old Town Auburn
Cost: $20, includes to-go box, napkin, complimentary raffle ticket and passport with a map and list of all participants. Only 200 tickets will be sold.
Tickets: Pre-purchase at Sun River Clothing Company, 1585 Lincoln Way, Auburn
Info: Contact Linda Robinson at (530) 888-1585 or email@example.com, Pam Hart at (530) 823-6799 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.oldtownauburnca.com
Dip like a pro
Chef Terry Masten, an Auburn resident and cooking instructor for the Auburn Recreation District, offers the following tips for dipping food in chocolate.
Use quality chocolate
The chocolate for sale in a typical grocery store is not “coating chocolate”?ideal for dipping. Masten recommends using imported dipping chocolate, available at professional kitchen supply stores. But not everybody has access to such a store, so Masten advises dippers to add shortening to the bowl, one tablespoon at a time, until the chocolate is the right consistency. Properly dipped chocolate will have a small crunch when it’s bitten into.
Dip your cookie (or banana, or strawberry, etc.) in the chocolate, then lightly shake off the excess. This rids the item of “feet,” which create small puddles at the bottom. When the chocolate isn’t dripping anymore, it’s ready.
Set it up
Set the item on parchment paper to let it harden for a few minutes, then enjoy!