Chocolate Fest 2018 -- Cleveland, OH



I waited three weeks to write this post, because like with Cheese Fest, I needed time to reflect on the experience so that I could give accurate feedback about our time at the Cleveland Chocolate Fest. We've attended both large and small events hosted by Taste CLE and have always loved their smaller wine dinners, but Cheese Fest had been a little bit of a logistical mess in August. I noticed the Cleveland Chocolate Fest was also at the Lago events space, but unlike at Cheese Fest everything was indoors for this event due to the weather being colder (it would have been lovely if we could have enjoyed the patio/lawn space though).

The promise? With our early bird tickets of $35 a piece, unlimited samples and a glass of champagne at check-in. After we purchased the early bird tickets the price increased to $45 a ticket. For regular ticket holders there was a cash bar available, but for ticket holders who bought into the port wine package at $70 (early bird) or $75 (regular sale) prices there was a table of dessert and port wines that those ticket holders had access to and were able to sample each of the nine port, dessert, and ice wines.

Things We Liked:
1.) All of the vendors were lovely, everyone was positive, upbeat, and engaging. All of their chocolates/confections were top notch and we loved seeing all of the creative things people had come up with for the event. We made some purchases and the friend we attended with did as well.

2.) I'm not sure if there were fewer ticket sales for this event, but we arrived mid-way through and were easily able to move around the space which was appreciated. One of our biggest complaints about Cheese Fest had been that there were too many people in the space for us to enjoy the event, that seemed to have been rectified here.

Things That Could Be Improved:

1.) A better way of handing out complimentary champagne if you're going to talk it up as part of the ticket experience. We never received any and never saw anyone handing it out.

2.) More samples for the price or less of a ticket price for the amount of samples received. Compared to other Cleveland food festivals like the Mac & Cheese Throwdown and Donut Fest which provide large samples, the cost seemed more worth it. Either lowering the price or adding more samples would help give better balance. I want to be clear that this is about the cost/quantity of the samples per ticket, not the items that the vendors had for sale -- everything we saw that was available for purchase was fairly priced.

Due to the small amount of samples, I would have called this more of a pop-up chocolate market than a chocolate festival.

Comments from Taste CLE

In my delay to get this posted, Taste CLE already responded to some of the changes they plan to implement in 2019 for Cleveland Chocolate Fest (and they were very receptive in the past when I wrote about Cheese Fest). Taste CLE says this via their Facebook page:

"We've spoke to many people and will be making some adjustments to add more value to the ticket price as well as bringing in some new and larger chocolatiers. It's all about listening to our guests and making each event better...
We've got some great plans and ideas that will no doubt improve quality and experience. More goodies to take home, each vendor will have a specific item they serve that's a bit more special. We will have a passport so each person gets a sample from each vendor as well so no running out. Champagne will be back for sure. It will be in a disposable plastic champagne glass though. Just too expensive and dangerous having 700 glass flutes. But it will only get better. All about increasing the value of the ticket so out [sic] guests leave with huge smiles." 

Participating chocolatiers: 
NOMaste Cheesecakes (Vegan)
Manypenny Pretzels

Our photos from the event: 

Davis Bakery & Deli:




MK Sweets:







Chocolate Bliss By Kim:






Manypenny Pretzels:


Java Momma:
    



Mitchell's Fine Chocolates:




Sweet  Bean:





All City Candy:



Sweet Designs Chocolatier:

  


Heather's Pure Delights:



Three Olives was on hand with their new Rosé vodka. 




Malley's:


Fear's Confections: 









Ohio Wanderlust Rating for the 2018 Cleveland Chocolate Fest:


This rating is not a reflection on the vendors since they weren't the ones putting everything together. Overall the price of the ticket was not worth the value of the experience. 

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