It’s been a tough winter here in Arkansas, and last week’s statewide snowstorm had Jess and me scared that we weren’t going to be able to take our long-planned, much-anticipated (and much-needed) Valentine’s Day trip to Eureka Springs to attend the Chocolate Lover’s Festival. After driving from Little Rock to Bryant in the middle of the storm and subsequently driving BACK to Little Rock the following morning, I didn’t think there was any way we’d be able to make it up into the Ozarks. Thursday brought warmer temperatures and the beginnings of a nice melt-off, and with Friday coming on even warmer we decided to hit the road and head north. The Festival was held at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks, and I’d like to thank the staff of that hotel for a pleasant stay.
This was our first year at the festival, and while it wasn’t the biggest event we’ve ever attended there were no shortage of people visiting the booths – and the multiple chocolate fountains – sampling all the goodies. If it could be coated in, stuffed with, or made from chocolate, somebody was doing it here. There were the expected treats like chocolate covered strawberries, turtles, and cupcakes but there were also more out-of-the-ordinary offerings at the fountains like pepper jack cheese and Fritos corn chips. I found the pepper jack to be extremely yucky, but a chocolate-dipped Frito is actually not bad.
Some of our favorite treats were these rose-iced cupcakes, created by Sugar Leaf Treats, a group whose booth also featured a dress made completely of chocolate. I have no idea how these folks manage to shape the chocolate in the inventive ways they do! Our favorite treats, though, were made by the nice ladies from Brown Bag Gourmet Catering, who got our vote for “Best Chocolate” with their creamy dark chocolate coated coconut bites. We definitely put a few of those into our “to-go” boxes for later (they did not survive the night).
Considering the weather (which forced the cancellation of the Festival’s Friday activities), we were very pleased with how the event was run. You certainly couldn’t turn from one booth to the next without some smiling person holding out tray after tray of sugar-packed goodness. I’m hoping that next year’s festival can avoid the snow – this is certainly an event we’d like to keep attending and see grow. Eureka Springs is one of our favorite towns in Arkansas to visit, and I can’t think of a better way to spend Valentine’s weekend than with my sweetheart in the Ozarks. Kat Robinson has a write-up on the festival (with some excellent pictures) up over at the Arkansas Times’ Eat Arkansas blog, so take a minute and click over there to see more of what you missed! We’ll be back next year for sure, so I hope that we’ll see some of you stuffing your faces with decadent treats along with us. We’ll have more coming up from our weekend in Eureka, so stay tuned, and Happy Valentine’s Day!