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Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Senior cake artist Jennifer Malave shows off a push-up dessert shot, which Sprinkles Custom Cakes will sell at the Festival of Chocolate, where local chocolatiers face off against each other this Saturday.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Mar. 4, 2010 9 years ago

One nation under chocolate

by: Katie Kustura

Winter Park-based Sprinkles Custom Cakes received national recognition in TIME magazine in 2008 for their divorce cakes, which picture an upside-down wedding cake with the bride or groom's legs sticking out at the bottom.

Sprinkles owner Larry Bach has some new tricks up his sleeve for the Festival of Chocolate, which is being held at the Orlando Science Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 6, and Sunday, March 7.

Vendors are coming in for the festival from all over the state and even New York. Six vendors are from our own backyard, having stores in Winter Park or stands at the Winter Park Farmer's Market.

Sprinkles Custom Cakes, located off West Fairbanks Avenue, will be entering the cake decorating and tasting contests as well as the cupcake contest. Bach said they'll also be selling slices of their famous "Oh My God" chocolate cake, a chocolate coconut cake (Bach's personal favorite) and a new one they're calling "Reese's Pieces" because it has a layer of peanut butter inside and crunchy peanuts on the outside.

Sprinkles will also be selling push-up dessert shots that come in plastic containers with lids.

"In a lot of schools they're putting their foot down about cupcakes and cakes making such a big mess," Bach said. "This is probably a good way to have desserts brought to school for a kid's birthday without making a big mess."

Young Chef's Academy, a national franchise that offers culinary classes, mini-camps and birthday parties for elementary school and middle school kids, will put on a demo called "Kids Cooking Up Chocolate."

"We're planning to do chocolate lollipops in the kid's recreation area where they can do hands-on projects and then we're doing live demonstrations including candy sushi," said Michele Banks, owner of the Aloma Avenue location.

Peterbrooke Chocolatier, located off Park Avenue, will be bringing chocolate truffle cookies and their best-seller for 27 years, chocolate-covered popcorn.

"We're really excited to be there and see what everybody else has to offer and kind of learn something ourselves and maybe pass on some knowledge," said owner Kevin Wray.

Wray said that one of the things that make Peterbrooke Chocolatier special is taking American comfort foods such as popcorn, Oreos and graham crackers and covering them in chocolate.

"I'm very impressed," said Peterbrooke customer Shirley Piland, adding that she would probably buy the whole store if she had the money.

Joining the Winter Park stores are Chateau E.I.E.I.O., Pam's Confections and Xocai, vendors that set up at the Winter Park Farmer's Market.

Chateau E.I.E.I.O. makes unique pet-themed products for animal lovers and donates about 10 percent of its profits from to various non-profit organizations, such as Humane Society of Central Florida.

Xocai is well-known for its healthy chocolate. The company takes pure, unprocessed cocoa and combines it with the acai berry for an antioxidant-filled treat.

Events at the festival include chocolate pizza decorating, cupcake decorating and the dipping and decorating of marshmallow kabobs. KidzArt Interactive, an international franchise that offers art classes, will also be there helping kids make chocolate play dough and rock salt chocolate ice cream.

"It's really going to be a unique event in that it's such a comprehensive exploration of chocolate," said Jeff Stanford, VP of Communications for the Orlando Science Center.

But it's not just for the kids. More challenging activities such as chocolate candy making, chocolate cup creations using a balloon technique and mixing up some fresh chocolate mousse will help adults indulge their sweet tooth.

Attendees can also observe the live judging of the best of chocolate indulgence competition, in which pastry chefs compete in a live chocolate showpiece competition, learn about the relationship between chocolate and wine, enjoy a chocolate spa treatment, explore a chocolate-themed museum or watch an artist create chocolate-inspired pieces.

There will also be a crazy cookie stacking competition and an ice cream eating contest that both kids and adults can participate in.

The festival will not only explore the taste sensations of chocolate, but it will also explore its history, its science and the process of making it, Stanford said.

"It's going to be more chocolate fun than you could imagine you could have at one time."

For more information on tickets, vendors and activities, visit or call the Orlando Science Center at 407-514-2113.

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