Truffles, gooey chocolate, sweets covered in chocolate and chocolate that pairs with wine — guests will be sampling these treats and more at the 12th Annual Chocolate Lovers Fantasy on Sunday, June 1, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Manchester.
Local vendors, bakeries and restaurants, as well as national brands, will offer samples of their chocolate creations for attendees to taste.
“It’s well-attended and well-known,” said Debbie Bowen, community outreach and engagement coordinator for The CareGivers, the nonprofit that benefits from this event. “It’s a great way to get out and sample some products of local vendors and also see chocolate in new light.”
Van Otis Chocolates of Manchester plans to offer samples of its Swiss fudge, salted caramels and truffles. Other vendors include Lindt, Edible Arrangements, Popcorn Passion, Blackberry Bakery and Simply Delish.
This will be the eighth year Michele’s Sweet Shoppe has participated in the Chocolate Lovers Fantasy. Owner Michele Holbrook said she plans to bring two new flavors of gourmet popcorn: Birthday Cake is made with a white chocolate glaze with crushed vanilla wafers, colored sprinkles and an orange-colored chocolate with vanilla oil, and Moose Trax has a white chocolate glaze, mini peanut butter cups, milk chocolate and peanut butter.
“It’s meant to be just like the ice cream,” Holbrook said. “And we always bring savory flavors since everybody’s inundated with chocolate.”
There are more than just chocolatey indulgences at the Chocolate Lovers Fantasy. This year, Bowen said, The Spa Within will join the event for the first time, offering chair massages and hand scrubs.
“Zorvinos will be joining us and they’ll suggest wines that will go with chocolates, too,” Bowen said.
In addition to the sampling, an auction will also benefit The CareGivers, which provides assistance to the elderly and disabled in the greater Manchester and Nashua areas. The auction has been live online with bids already placed on items like gift certificates to local restaurants and tickets to area attractions, as well as goodies from participating vendors.
With so many sweet (and savory) treats to try, Holbrook said pace is key.
“It’s a fun event,” she said. “The organization that it supports is definitely worth it, and it’s chocolate. How can you not have fun at a chocolate event?”