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Sweet surrender: Chocolate fest at Fairchild

Chocolate lovers will get a bite of their favorite treat at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

BY RODOLFO ROMAN

Special to The Miami Herald

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, couples can get a head start by satisfying their sweet tooth with the latest in chocolate.

The fifth annual International Chocolate Festival will run Friday through Sunday at Coral Gables’ Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd. To wash it all down, coffee and tea will be available.

The event is more than just tasting the chocolate, said spokeswoman Kimberly Bobson.

“The great thing is that while our guests are here enjoying their fill of everything chocolate, they also learn about chocolate and cacao—where it comes from, how to grow it and how it’s made,” she said.

The Chocolate Festival was inspired after a walk through Fairchild’s rain forest.

“We wanted to tell a compelling story about rainforest ecosystems, and immediately thought about the world’s most delicious tropical rainforest fruit: the cacao, where chocolate comes from,” Bobson said.

The festival attracts more than 12,000 people during the three days. Several local and out-of-town vendors will showcase their latest treats.

Alejandra Bagai, owner of Romanicos chocolate, has attended every festival.

“I love gardens and great people attend,” she said. “The crowd values the product.”

The festival also features chocolate demonstrations. Chef Allen Susser will teach the crowd how to make a chocolate rum mousse. Lecturer Juan Carlos Motamayor will speak on the science of cacao.

For children, there will be several activities including book readings. To release stress, visitors can do yoga or enjoy a walk through the garden.

A coffee house will feature beans and brews from different parts of the world. Plant lovers will be able to purchase trees.

Bagai will have new products on sale including truffle bites, which are bonbons filled with truffles featuring different flavors like brandy.

“It is a great way to promote,” she said. “We have new products around this time because of Valentine’s day.”

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