Greetings Foodies! The Scottsdale Culinary Festival has begun! This year they are celebrating their 37th anniversary, which makes it the longest running event of its type in the nation. The Festival hosts over 35,000 guests, 20 events, 100 restaurants, dozens of top chefs and countless fine wine and spirit selections. The six day festival offers a diverse menu of luxurious dinners, themed cocktail parties and our signature event, the Great Arizona Picnic, featuring 50 restaurants, chef demonstrations, live bands and specialty tasting venues.
The festival is the primary fundraiser for the Scottsdale League for the Arts. The League’s mission is to support artists, art programs, and arts education through fundraising and special events. Since 2002, the League has donated over $4 million to arts organizations in Arizona.
Last night I attended the Wine and Chocolate event held at the Musical Instrument Museum of Phoenix. The event featured several local (and some not so local) wines as well as a plethora of decadent chocolate. Participating exhibitors included: Arizona Cheese Farms, Nutwhats, Untamed Confections, Xocolatl Jason Wasse Confections, Zak’s Chocolates, Pillsbury Wine Company, League of Rogues Wine, Cellar 433, Oak Creek Vineyards, and more!
While the wines were amazing, the chocolate was the real star of the show. The craft and attention to detail that the various exhibitors put into their chocolate is mind blowing! These aren’t your everyday Snickers bars. There were some standouts for me:
Untamed Confections– This couple hailing from Tubac, Arizona uses only honey to sweeten their chocolate, no other sugar is used. If this wasn’t interesting enough, their Chiltepin Pepper Dark Chocolate was packed full of flavor and had the heat lacking in most chile chocolate.
Zak’s Chocolate– This Scottsdale based company creates its single origin and house blend chocolates using only 3 ingredients: cacao, cane sugar and cocoa butter pressed in house. Each chocolate offered was from a different cocoa bean source and you could taste the distinct and unique flavors of each.
Xocolatl Jason Wasse Confections- All I can say is wow! Before even tasting these delicious chocolates you can’t help be blown away by how beautiful they are. The amount of work that obviously goes into these handmade chocolates is astonishing! I tried the Single Malt Scotch and Blackberry Lavender chocolate and enjoyed both immensely.
Overall, the event was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Unfortunately, due to time I didn’t get to wander through the museum but from what I saw the people who did enjoyed it quite a bit. If this event is a measure of the rest of the events of the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, I’m really looking forward to the Great Arizona Picnic this Sunday. Until then!
Enjoy What You Eat!