chicago chocolate festivalChicago is going to be the chocolate mecca in about three months.

The Chicago Chocolate Festival, a new dual consumer and trade-show event dedicated entirely to the chocolate industry, is slated for Nov. 16-18 at the city’s Navy Pier.

The two shows — the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show (for consumers), and The National Chocolate Show (for the trade industry) — will feature tastings, educational conferences and interactive demonstrations and feature areas.

“We’ve heard from our sponsors and exhibitors alike that chocolate deserves its time in the spotlight,” says Mario Pi, show founder.

Both shows will showcase Chicago as the leader in the chocolate industry, drive advancements in chocolate and educate both audiences through two distinct events.

The National Chocolate Show attendees can expect:

  • Exhibitors: Leaders in chocolate product, supplies, ingredients, equipment, packaging, point of purchase, displays, apparel and uniforms and more. Current and expanding exhibitors include: Valrhona, Mod-Pac Corp., Savage Bros. Co. and more.
  • Attendees: Targeted buyers of chocolate products and services from: specialty grocers; food service distributors; confectionery retailers; chocolatiers; chefs; hotels; restaurants; bakeries; gift shop owners; caterers; and more.
  • Conference Programming: Forums on cocoa farming sustainability, improvement of the livelihood of cocoa farmers, trend spotting, fine flavor exploration, new product development, business insights, and more.
  • Demonstration Stage: The pastry and culinary elite will showcase their innovative skill and the latest trends in chocolate in the show’s demonstration area, including a variety of cuisines and culinary techniques.  

The Chicago Fine Chocolate Show attendees can expect:

  • Exhibitors: Accomplished chocolatiers and pastry chefs from around the country including: Mayana Chocolate, SPAGnVOLA, St. Croix Chocolate Co., Stella Leona Artisan Chocolates, Gabriella Chocolates & Confections, Flying Noir, Choclatique and more
  • Attendees: Anyone who shares the love of chocolate!
  • Conference Programming: Educational sessions will be offered by the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA), includling small batch chocolate making from bean to bar, leveraging and creating trends, sustainability in chocolate, the lifecycle of chocolate from the farm to table and more.
  • Fine Artisanal Chocolate Area: The Fine Artisanal Chocolate Area will feature products from the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) members and other top artisan chocolatiers from the United States and around the world such as: handmade, small batch chocolate bars, truffles and bonbons and other chocolate sweets like salted caramels, panned nuts and fruits and macarons.
  • Pairings Pavilion: Guests will learn how to pair and taste the nuances of fine chocolate with not only wine, but with beer and spirits as well as coffee, tea and more. Guests can explore what they enjoy and what pairs well and what doesn’t through guided tastings from chocolate expert Clay Gordon of The Chocolate Life.
  • The Story of Chocolate: Presented by the National Confectioners Association’s Chocolate Council, guests will walk through the six steps of the chocolate production process from seed to consumption.
  • Demonstration Stage: Presented by the French Pastry School, world class chefs and master chocolatiers will showcase classic techniques of chocolate making, from truffles to marshmallows so guests leave with an appreciation of the artisan craft of fine chocolate.
  • The Chocolate Art Gallery: The French Pastry School will display exquisite sculptures made exclusively of chocolate.
  • Friends of Chocolate: Guests can explore how chocolate plays a role in other facets of our lives from chocolate spa experiences, literature, entertainment and even a possible career in pastry.
  • All Things Chocolate: From cakes, cookies, brownies and more, All Things Chocolate showcases chocolate as a defining ingredient in the broader pastry and culinary world.

The events are endorsed by a team of elite sponsors, including: The French Pastry School, the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA), the National Confectioners Association’s Chocolate Council, the American Culinary Federation (ACF)–Windy City Professional Culinarians and more. Candy Industry, along with Dessert Professional and Cuisine Noir magazines, are media sponsors.

Tickets for the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show will cost $25 for adults and $10 for children.