Chocolate Festival offers decadent delights for all

by Michael Short on February 24, 2011

By Michael Short

It will be a sweet and spicy weekend in Rehoboth Beach.

The 21st annual Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival is set for Saturday, March 5 at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. But if you prefer a little more kick to your cuisine, you can sample gumbo at a dozen local restaurants on Sunday, March 6 as part of the city’s Mardi Gras celebration.

The long-standing chocolate festival draws thousands  for all things dark and delicious. Simple cookies to elaborate centerpieces will all be available for chocolate lovers to drool over and samples are available for four hours on Saturday or until the chocolate runs out.

Chocolate is said to mimic the satisfaction one generally gets from certain other pleasures and dark chocolate contains  antioxidants that actually help to promote good health.

But this is not a weekend about being healthy. It’s a weekend about being deliciously decadent with creamy, sweet, towering treats that are the stuff of dreams for the chocoholics among us.

Expect some dramatic creations and confections from some of the chefs. “There are some pretty wild imaginations out there,” said Jenny Barger, executive director of Rehoboth Beach Main Street.

The Convention Center opens at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 5 and stays open until 3:30 p.m. or until the last piece of chocolate has disappeared. Cost is $2 and tastes are available for 50 cents each. You can have as many tastes as you want, but there is no takeout allowed.

So, bring your taste buds.

The annual festival is sponsored by Rehoboth Beach Main Street and by the Friends of the Rehoboth Beach Public Library and it draws thousands of people.  “The line winds up and around the fire hall,” said Barger.

There are baking contests with categories for everyone from professionals to restaurants to amateurs to students.

If you get enough chocolate (considered heresy in my household), there are also hot dogs available. There is even a milk stand to provide the perfect beverage to match your sweet tooth.

“It really is all things chocolate,” said Barger.

There are also vendors, a 50/50 raffle and many children’s games with chocolate themes like marshmallow tosses or tootsie roll pops, making this fun for the entire family.

Vendors include: Cake Break, Hobo’s Restaurant and Bar, Kilwin’s Candy, Oasis Bath and Body Boutique, The Point Coffee House and Bake Shoppe, Snyder’s Candy, the Village Improvement Association (which has a bake sale), Tout de Suite Patisserie and Cake Bar by Sugar Bakers.

There are even chocolate scented bath salts and lotions this year.

“It is a must attend event,” said Barger.

If your tastes run a little more spicy, than try the gumbo cookoff on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.  Stroll around town and taste the gumbo at a dozen restaurants. Participants are Arena’s, Cloud 9, Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats, The Frogg Pond, Nicola’s, Pig & Fish, Henlopen City Oyster House, Mariachi Restaurant, Hobo’s Bar and Restaurant, The Purple Parrot, Rigby’s and Stoney Lonen.

Ballots to vote for the best gumbo are $5 and are available at the Chocolate Festival or participating restaurants or at the Main Street office. It’s part of Mardi Gras events and happenings at local restaurants and nightspots around town from March 4 to March 8.

For more information about either Mardi Gras or the Chocolate Festival, go to

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