chicago chocolate festival
A chocolate sculpture created by a student at the French Pastry School
sits on display at the
2013 Chicago Chocolate Festival. 

The second annual Chicago Chocolate Festival will be split into two separate sets of dates next year — one for consumers and one for trade.

The Chicago Fine Chocolate Show (for consumers) is slated for Fri.-Sun., Oct. 18-20, while the National Chocolate Show (for trade) is slated for Sun-Tues., Oct. 20-22. Both will be at Navy Pier in Chicago.

The separation of the two marks a contrast to how the show was designed in 2012, when both the trade and the consumer show were held simultaneously. The dates also are almost a month earlier than the 2012 show, which was held the third week in November.

About 14,500 consumers visited the show in 2012, while about 2,700 industry insiders attended as trade members.

“For the first year show, we were thrilled with the turnout,” says show founder Mario Pi. “We thank all of our sponsors, exhibitors and both trade and consumer attendees who made the show possible.”

Cati Carrow, a spokeswoman for the show, says they still believe in the concept of a dual trade and consumer chocolate show though.

“We’re already talking about developing a ‘tradezumer’ section for next year,” she says. “That was one of the most poignant observations on our end of the show — consumers wanted to know what the latest technology and ingredients... the industry were using, and trade attendees wanted to see what new artisan confections small-scale chocolatiers were producing.”

Pi feels confident that the event will continue to grow for years to come.

“We wanted to give chocolate its day in the spotlight, and we feel that we were able to do that,” he says.