Sweet Saturday and Chocolate Sunday this weekend @ Ruth Eckerd Hall

The popular Chocolate Sunday event in Clearwater that I covered last year on my food blog will return this weekend, January 21-22, and is now a two-day event: Sweet Saturday and Chocolate Sunday and is once again sponsored by Tampa Bay Woman Newspaper. I can still taste the chocolate covered bacon that was provided by The Vine last year…delicious. I will be in attendance this weekend and you have a chance to win free tickets as well in my latest giveaway!

How to win: “Like” Carlos Eats on Facebook and post about your favorite chocolate vendor in Tampa Bay. You can gain 1 additional entry by sharing this post with your friends on Facebook from the fan page. I can view who shares the page from my fan page. Hurry because winners will be  randomly drawn Tomorrow, January 20th, at 5:00PM. Finally make sure you comment below so I can have your contact e-mail in case you win! If chosen, I will send the organizer your name for ticket pickup.

You can also take advantage of this $5.00 off coupon provided to me by the Chocolate Sunday organizers. I hope you’ll be enjoying the goods this weekend like I will. :]

Event Name: Sweet Saturday & Chocolate Sunday

Address: 1111 McMullen Booth Road Clearwater, FL 33759

Dates: January 21-22, 2012 – 11AM-6PM

Website: http://chocolate-sunday.com/

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Chocolate Sunday Part IV

Read Chocolate Sunday Part III

Meeting the friendly people at the Palm Harbor House of Beer booth was a fun time. They had a number of beers for us to sample from chocolate stout to raspberry beer. The raspberry beer was smooth and sweet. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but the raspberry beer sample left me wanting more. You can visit their Facebook here.

You can visit Palm Harbor House of Beer online at http://www.palmharborhob.com/

Effen Vodka had complimentary chocolate liquor samples, but I found them to be too bitter for my tastes.

Buddy Brew Coffee offered samples of chocolate covered organic cocoa seeds. We learned plenty about their business (and freshly roasted coffee) from the owner there and I have read great things about them on my friend Tracy’s food blog. You can find Buddy Brew on Facebook here and also at http://www.buddybrew.com/

One interesting sample at Chocolate Sunday was Pirate’s Booty Chocolate. It was a test sampling, they haven’t released it to the market yet.  Popcorn with chocolate on top and healthy to top that. It tasted great…can’t wait to buy some in stores soon.  Their products are vegan friendly and cholesterol free as well as Trans Fat and Gluten Free. You can visit Pirates Brands online at http://piratebrands.com/ and on Facebook as well.

This concludes my coverage of Chocolate Sunday. It was truly a great event and I was honored to be in the presence of so many vendors and to learn about so many local businesses.

Chocolate Sunday Part III

Read Chocolate Sunday Part II

We made a stop to the Watercolour Steakhouse and Grille booth to try their chocolate covered shrimp.

The chocolate shrimp has to be one of the weirdest mixes I could imagine (next to bacon of course), but it was actually pretty good. LATimes Food Twitter had a ball with it earlier today on Twitter. The shrimp tasted like cocktail shrimp, I’d probably like to see this tried with fried shrimp (oh the thoughts that are going through my head at the moment) but this was a nice tasting. We were one of the lucky ones because the crowd cleaned out their supply about halfway through Chocolate Sunday. Watercolour was also handing out $15 gift cards for dinners of two or more. They have live lounge entertainment on the weekends as well.

You can checkout Watercolour online at http://www.watercolourgrille.com

Watercolour Steakhouse and Grille on Urbanspoon

Kilwin’s was present. Their booth didn’t have many things to sample. They were featured on my blog just the other day when I was writing about Chocolate Sunday.

The Melting Pot gave out the sample (pictured above) with a toasty marshmellow, strawberry, and brownie to be dipped in chocolate. It tasted great..makes me really want to visit The Melting Pot. They were swamped with visitors at their booth. I have never been to the Melting Pot, but my friends always talk about it. My friends say that the Melting Pot also has excellent burgers? I never knew!

Melting Pot on Urbanspoon

Viktoria Richard’s Chocolates is chocolate made into art. A cool gift for a date or an early Valentines Day present, the chocolate almost doesn’t look real because of how well designed it is. There are a variety of flavors available from Coconut to Wild Berry Pino Noir. New flavors are developed throughout the year. Retails stores are in New Port Richey, Clearwater, Tampa, and St. Petersburg and you can also shop online at http://www.vrchocolates.com/.

Their booth did not seem to have any samples, but they were selling boxes of chocolate (one of which Justin bought). The prices of the boxes ranged from $10-$15.

Affordable chocolate bars were available as well.

You can find Viktoria Richards Chocolate on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Viktoria-Richards-Chocolates/146304192046521

The Pie Factory and Toucan’s Coffee House booth was full of tasty looking pies. They were giving out samples which tasted pretty good. The Pie Factory has been around since 1990 and is family owned. They are happy to work with customers for custom creations as well. You can visit The Pie Factory online at http://www.piefactoryfl.com/

Continue to Chocolate Sunday Part IV

Chocolate Sunday Part II

Read Chocolate Sunday Part I

Costco had a booth and was selling a number of things as well as giving away M&M’s and various chocolate goods. All the sweets we tried at their booth were great. The last time I went to Costco was over ten years ago, but maybe it’s time to make a trip back there. Their Marketing Rep, Debbie Butterfield, was very friendly and personable.

Costco Food Court on Urbanspoon

A veterans help booth was nearby serving ice cream and candy.

Pupcakes Etc. was selling cannolis that looked tasty at Chocolate Sunday. They are known for selling dog treats and have a handy guide on their website about why certain foods are bad for your dog. Pupcakes was founded after the owners dog died and the owner decided that her next dog would have a natural diet. A baker for over 30 years, the owner transitions into cakes, treats, and cookies for pets. You can find out more on their website at http://www.pupcakesetc.com/

Treats for Troops is an organization that sends care packages to American troops. They were giving away free Hershey’s chocolates at their booth, but they’re cause truly moved us so we decided to donate some money. Treats for Troops ships 6 TONS of care packages every week. Postage bills run from $35,000 to $60,000 per month. Donations and supplies for troops are at an all time low after the holidays and Treats for Troops has organized a “Ziploc bags full of goodies” drive for Troops. You can help by filling a gallon size Ziploc bag with items for the troops or by passing them out to anyone willing to contribute. The deadline is February 15th, 2011. There are plenty of other ways to help out if you want to get involved just visit their website.

You can find more information online at http://www.treatsfortroops.info/

This booth was advertising a meet and greet with some stars. The chocolate at this booth was superb! We decided to head outside for a breath of fresh air after this.

Play 98.7 was outside. They are a new radio station in Tampa Bay playing Top 40s music (minus the Rap). They were giving out free prizes if you name a Top 40s song (that wasn’t a rap song)…it was hard for me to do on the spot, but I eventually won a lanyard.  They gave out some free stickers too.

Our next booth was The Vine Restaurant and Wine Bar. They stock over 400 different bottles and serve over 50 different types of wine by the glass. The Vine only serves Meyer Natural Angus Beef, their Duroc pork comes from the award winning Vande Rose Farms of Iowa, and they use natural fresh American Cedar Springs Lamb.

Their free sample was a chocolate and bacon mix that was amazing. If Adam Richman would have been there, he would have mentioned something about God being great. The bite certainly left me wanting more and I may have to make a trip out to this restaurant in Lutz sometime.

You can check out The Vine online at http://thevinebar.net/

Vine Bar on Urbanspoon

Continue on to Chocolate Sunday Part III

Chocolate Sunday Part I

First off, I would really like to thank my friend Justin Rita for helping me out to hold all the samples and shooting video footage. Couldn’t have done it without him. Now let’s get this Chocolate Sunday coverage going!

GateauOChocolat prides itself on “luxiourious, organic, flourless, and gluten-free cakes”.  Normally when you think of all those things in the same sentence you don’t imagine that cake will taste very good, but after I was provided with a free sample I was blown away with just how good their cake tasted. The booth exhibitors were very friendly and welcoming to us and provided us with some information pamphlets. Gateau uses Ecuadorian Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate, organic butter and eggs from small farms, and organic, carbon-neutral Florida cane sugar.

A visit to their website has informed me that Gateau are currently waiting for organic certification, but do use 100% organic products. Their website is very informative and has information on how to best serve their cakes (available in either 6 or 9 inches). I met the founder, Emmanuel Roux, at their booth and he was really enthusiastic while telling me about their cakes, I couldn’t wait to take my first bite.

The cake was was rich and had a very soft texture. I loved the taste of the chocolate, it wasn’t too sweet, but just right. The strawberries and whipped cream on the side went well with it and the nuts on top were fantastic. My favorite thing was that this cake tasted homemade and not like something you’d find at Publix or some other grocery store. My photograph was taken as we were surrounded by about 100 people in a tight space so I do apologize that the photo isn’t clearer, but if you look below you can see the beautiful presentation of these cakes.

You can order Gateau O Chocolat’s cakes at their website: http://www.gateauochocolat.net/

Next we stopped at Casey’s Cookies. Casey’s is a not-for-profit company with the mission to “promote independence and improve the quality of life for developmentally and physically disabled adults” and was started by Casey’s parents after their daughter was born with Goldenhar Syndrome, “a congenital birth defect that includes deformities of the face and spine, and sometimes mental retardation”. Casey’s parents been through many struggles as Casey has grown up, but Casey’s Cookies is something positive that they have come up with. The booth was selling cookies for a dollar and so we decided to buy one, the cookie was pretty great and my friend only took a few seconds to finish it. Casey’s Cookies caters and accepts donations and volunteers as well.

You can visit Casey’s Cookies online at http://www.caseyscookies.org/ You can also find them on Facebook.

Pure Magic Ice Cream was our next stop (just the name makes you want some). Located in Kissimmee, Florida, these vendors were a little far from home, but we were glad they made the trip out to Clearwater for the day. Pure Magic uses Liquid Nitrogen to make fresh frozen ice cream, which according to their website is 320 degrees below zero. Pure Magic has been around since 2007 and was founded by Doug Mayhew and John Eustace. They can also serve alcoholic ice cream (interesting) and popular flavors are Pina Coloda, Strawberry Margarita, Kahlua, and more. I didn’t see these at their booth, but would love to try some! They cater all kinds of events and serve Tampa, Orlando, and Central Florida.

You can watch the process below:

Liquid Nitrogen freezing the ice cream. Justin had some ice cream and loved it, he claims its some of the freshest tasting ice cream he has had. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it back to the booth to try it myself, but it looked appetizing.

Pure Magic on Urbanspoon

You can visit Pure Magic Ice Cream at their website: http://www.puremagicicecream.com/. You can also find Pure Magic on Yelp and Facebook (as well as Urbanspoon-just click the button above this).

We backtracked and visited Taste Cafe at this event as well. It’s been a few months since I last visited Taste Cafe for their Bloggers Dinner. It was great seeing an old friend again and sure enough Taste Cafe had some great choices of food to sample here.

This dish (almost all gone when I visited their booth) was Taste Cafe’s chocolate bread. One bite of it and I wanted to eat the whole thing…no wonder it was almost all gone. They offered two toppings: Irish Whiskey Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate Mousse, both were amazing! As usual the owners mouth-watering descriptions of their food remains true!

Taste Cafe also was offering another sample, which quickly became my favorite at Chocolate Sunday…

Black Bean Chili with chocolate in it. I’m not much of a chili-eater. I will eat some here and there…but this chili was so good. It could convert me into a daily chili lover. I wanted to take the whole pot home (maybe I will next time I stop at Taste Cafe).  The chili was appealing to all my taste buds and in the right way. Describing this chili in any other way than perfect would be wrong. It’s no wonder Taste Cafe won the most unique use of a chocolate award at Chocolate Sunday.

Continue on to Chocolate Sunday Part II

Chocolate Sunday

Chocolate Sunday just passed over the weekend and what an event it was! The sheer massive amount of people and vendors all interacting was quite an experience. Attempting to cover this whole event in one blog would probably be impossible (or kill your internet speed with all the photos I took), therefore this blog will split into parts. No one part is better than the other so be sure to check it out all out and see what Chocolate Sunday was all about and the great food that was brought there by vendors around the Tampa Bay area and Florida state.

Chocolate Sunday

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Chocolate Sunday – January 23rd, 2011 in Clearwater

Update: Due to time constraints the 4 winners will be drawn from the comment box below by 11:59pm 01/20/2011. Thanks!

-Carlos

I am quite the chocolate enthusiast. No trip to Channelside is complete is complete without a visit to Qachbal’s Chocolatier. When I am visiting Downtown Disney in Orlando I have to grab a shake from Ghirardelli. Finally whenever I am in Sarasota in St. Armand’s Circle I make it a point to stop at Kilwins.

An inviting exterior. You can look right into the chocolate shop and see them making some of the treats. St. Armand’s Circle is packed with lots of little shops from tiny pizza and ice cream parlors to bars and chocolate shops. Plenty of stores to occupy tourists or visitors for hours.

Look at all that chocolate. It’s a tease!

You can watch them at work…making the goods! Look at all those candy apples.

Kilwins has a variety of ice cream flavors as well. My favorite? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. The employees at Kilwins are very friendly (and mostly high schoolers) and helpful when you’re trying to find the right taste and they are happy to let you sample flavors until you find the right ice cream flavor.

A cup full of happiness.

Entering Kilwins must not be recommended by dentists, but what is life without the sweet little things right? As one famous chocolate quote reads: “I could give up chocolate but I’m not a quitter.” Now that I have made everyone (including myself) want some chocolate read below for some information on an upcoming chocolate event next Sunday that Kilwins will be present at!

Kilwin's Chocolate & Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

Chocolate Sunday, Tampa Bay’s 1st annual chocolate event and biggest day in Chocolate will be next Sunday the 23rd in Clearwater from twelve to six. This event is being brought to you by Tampa Bay Woman Newspaper. Many vendors lined up to be at this event such as The Melting Pot and Kilwins. Your favorite local food blogger (his name is Carlos and he is always eating!) will be in attendance as well. Chocolate Sunday is meant to bring something new and refreshing to Tampa Bay like never before so don’t miss out on this event.

Address: 1111 North McMullen Booth Road Clearwater, FL 33759

Time: Noon – 6:00 p.m

Price: Advance Tickets are $20 for Adults, and $25 at the Door. Children’s tickets will be available for $10 for those ages 11 and under.

For Advance Ticket purchases please call the Ruth Eckerd Hall Box office at 727-791-7400.

For vendor/sponsor information, please contact TampaChocolateSunday@gmail.com.

For updated chocolatiers and other exhibitors, or for the Menu of events, go to http://chocolate-sunday.com.

Follow CHOCOLATE SUNDAY on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TampaChocSunday.

I am going to be giving away 4 Chocolate Sunday tickets to my blog readers  so pay attention and you may find yourself at Chocolate Sunday for free! Your opportunity to win is in the comment box below. Leave me a comment telling me what your favorite kind of chocolate is and I’ll pick four random commenter to win free tickets to Chocolate Sunday!