The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Chocolate Symposium, or "My belly is full of chocs"

Mom (on the phone): Where are you now?
Me: Oh, I'm at a chocolate symposium.
Mom: ...Okay.

My mum's interest is overbearing. Right. I called her during a break at the Chocolate Manufacturers Association Chocolate Symposium this morning to ask her a question and was amused by her disinterested response. Anyhoo, I'm not here to talk about my mum's indifference to my foodie ways—I'm here to talk about the future of CHOCS.

welcome haha, I am the media the land of free chocs

I was surprised when I was invited to attend the CMA's first chocolate symposium at the Institute of Culinary Education. It was the first time I was ever invited to a show of the trade-type. Or. Anything. I have to admit that I was a bit excited that my bloggie ways labeled me as the MEDIA (see, I got to wear a name tag, HOOHA, SEE?!). Whenever people asked me who I was with, I'd respond with something like, "Um...freeeeelance?" Sometimes I'd say that I have a blog, which would go into a longer response. "'s not specific to anything. I just talk about what I eat. Every freakin' day." Clay Gordon of was understandably in attendance, but we were the only bloggers there. Surely if William of chocolate obsession were based in NYC he would've been there too. Instead of listing a bunch of reasons why I wasn't qualified to be there, I'll just say that it was really cool and I'll try to recap the symposium to the best of my extremely unprofessional abilities.

[Hopefully you've figured this out already, but clicking on the photos will take you to larger versions on my flickr page. I have a gajillion photos so I'm going to post mainly small versions as to not make your browser implode. Do not squint to make out the photo, just click on it!]

After receving two folders stuffed with press releases, educational information about chocolate and biographies of various important chocolate related people, we browsed tables representing some of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world (including Nestle, Mars, and Hershey) and took their free chocolate bars. Or maybe that was just me.

I took some bars
I took a few...a few!

Hey, the Callebaut representative said I could take whatever full-sized chocolate bars I wanted. When someone tells you to take chocolate, you damn well better take it..

e. guittard
E. Guittard

Gary Guittard, president of Guittard Chocolate was pleasant to speak to. He'd prove to be a bit of a personality during the panel, in the awesome "Oh, these people really love chocolate" sense. It's a good sense.

dark chocolate raisinets STIX

Tricia Bowles, "Manager, Division & Brand Affairs" for Nestle said that if I wanted a case of a Nestle product, all I gotta do is ask. That's allll I gotta do. I'm be the hit of the office! Or the most popular house on my block during Halloween. (However, my block only has about 10 houses on it, or maybe even less since the last time I was home one of the neighboring houses was destroyed—along with some surrounding trees—to make room for an even larger house...anyhoo, back to chocs.) I don't plan on abusing this privilege, but I'm keeping her business card just in case. As for the candy on display, they were primarily modified established products, such as Dark Chocolate Raisinets, Dark Chocolate Turtles, Dark Chocolate 100 you sense a theme? I'll go into chocolate trends later. (I took notes, but I doubt I'll refer to them because...pssh, notes are for professionals.)

Random chocolate photos for you:

rainbow bubble yum hershey American Heritage
chocs chocs chocs

The chocolate flavored Bubble Yum wasn't actually available yet (the boxes were empty), but I recall seeing chocolate flavored gum in Japanese stores. So...there is chocolate gum on the market. For Japanese palates. IS AMERICAN READY? ISSSS IT?

060508 025 bag of stuff
swag bag

We shuffled down from the 12th to the 6th floor for the first panel, "Chocolatiers Talk What's Next" (I think that's missing a word of grammatical importance, but no matter). Each chair had a chocolate swag bag full of edibles (including a sample box of Guittard chocolates and duplicates of a bunch of things I had already shoved into my bag) and non-edibles (such as Origins "cocoa therapy" body cleanser and a copy of Truffles, Candies, and Confections by Carole Bloome, who spoke to us during lunch). My first thought was something like, "Holy shizz." I can't think of a food-filled bag that could be much better than one stuffed with chocolate. Chocolate is easy to share and it won't go bad if you can't eat it all in one day. A bag full of ice cream would...well, melt, and a bag full of scones would be impossible to eat at peak freshness. Chocolate is the key...the key to...I don't know, but it's the key to something good.

I was sitting next to Lisbeth Echeandia, publisher of Confectioner, a trade magazine about candy. She gave me a copy of the latest issue—did you know there's a line of Canadian chocolate called Choco-Omeg that provides "your daily fix of chocolate plus healthy omegae-3 fatty acids in one yummy product"? My god, I've been looking for that my whole life! ...Okay, not really, but it's an interesting idea. I guess. Oh, those Canadians!

Related to Canadianism, Tricia informed us that Nestle's Coffee Crisp is slated to arrive in US convenience stores on July 17th. No need for the Coffee Crisp Petition anymore. Suckers!...wait, I mean winners! Also, since Kristen asked me about the availability of Dark Chocolate 100 Grand, I can vaguely tell you that it's supposed to come out between now and June 30th. Woo. I have to admit that 100 Grand is one of the few chocolate bars I remember really liking from my Halloween stash as a kid.

060508 029 oops, bad photo
panel speakers

The panel was moderated by Joan Steuer, founder of Chocolate Marketing, a chocolate consulting firm. Yup, this woman is really into chocolate. The speakers from left to right, back row to front were Tom Hernquist (Senior Vice President, Global Chief Growth Officer, Hershey), Brice Russel (Senior VP of Technology, Masterfoods/Mars), Tricia Bowles (Manager, Division & Brand Affairs, Nestle), John Urbanski (VP Technical Sales and Services, Wilbur Chocolate Co), Edmond Opler (President, World's Finest Chocolate), Steve Laning (Director of Technical Services, North America, ADM Cocoa), Rose Potts (Sensory Programs Manager, Blommer Chocolate Company), Joe Lucas (VP Chocolate and Cocoa Sales North America, Barry Callebaut USA), and Gary Guittard (Chairman, Guittard Chocolate).

If you're wondering, that list took me forever to write. It might not even be correct; my memory kinda sucks. Dammit. I HOPE IT HELPS.

The main point of discussion was trends in the chocolate world, the major trends being dark chocolate, the health benefits of chocolate, and providing a unique chocolate-eating experience. Overall, chocolate in America is taking a major turn in complexity and choice (or "premium-ness", a term I just made up) similar to that of coffee more than a decade ago (which isn't something I can really comment on since I'm only 20 and am not familiar with a pre-Starbucks world, haha...dammit). As the country's population is getting older, consumers' palates are becoming more sophisticated; they demand something more complex than a Snickers bar. Origins and percentages were discussed; do they matter? Yup. Kinda. Consumers may not necessarily understand them, but origins are a vehicle for culinary travel and give a sense of exoticism. Percentages can be tricky since even though you'd think that 70% means 70% cocoa content, Gary informed us that it actually refers to the combined cocoa solids and cocoa butter content, meaning that there may not actually be that amount of coma-inducing cocoa in your chocolate. At least I think that's what he said.

...Okay, I give in; I need to look at my notes. I also don't want to write this entry for five hours. Yeah, I know I don't have to write an entry all in one sitting, but the loveliness of blogging is that I don't have to wait three or more months to get an article published—I can rush it and pump out something medicore! THAT'S MAH POWER, and I shall abuse it, but also try to keeop your attention.


Cocoa powder and chocolate beverages are another big thing to watch. I can attest to that, I drank a lot of hot chocolate this past winter. Then again, that's because I eat a lot. There's a reason why places like Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven, which has an extensive hot chocolate menu, are doing well. Cocoa is also being introduced into other foods, like savory main courses (although it's unlikely to go the other way around; scallop flavored chocolate, anyone?). Flavors that are becoming more popular in chocolate aren't necessarily new, but recall the origins of chocolate, such as spices used by the Aztecs. Someone also mentioned the development of 100 calorie packs to help people control their consumption. Hehehe...hehehe. I don't know about you, but if I eat chocolate, I go for the gluttonous gold. I acknowledge that I'm ingesting 500 calories in one sitting, but it doesn't really stop me. Then again, I'm not obese...yet.

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more chocolate-knowledged people!

The next panel, titled "What Do Instrustry Watchers See?", featured (from left to right) Don Montuori (Acquisition Editor, Packaged Facts), Dr. John Stanton (Food Marketing Trends Expert, St. Joseph's University), Angie McKenzie (Products Manager, Starbucks), and Chef Michelle Tampakis (Professor, ICE). Many things they said were also covered in the first panel, so I won't recapitulate. They mentioned that stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes are making premium chocolate more accessible. As for what premium chocolate is, they gave the characteristics of not having many ingredients and being well-packaged (Godiva, anyone?). They also touched upon chocolate in non-food items, primarily toiletries. I have to admit that I don't understand the big deal of using some kind of lotion with chocolate in it; I'd rather eat the chocolate than slather it on my skin. (I should probably mention though that my only toiletries are toothpaste and soap. The soap doubles as shampoo. If you've met me in real life, you know that 1) I don't use makeup and 2) I smell like a normal, clean human, unless I've been in the sun too long, so...yeeeaaah.)

Holy crap, I'm supposed to be studying for a final right now. My final final of my junior year. [looks at watch] Against better judgement, I shall plod on.

table 7
lucky 7

For lunch, we were treated to a chocolate-themed three-course meal. There was accompanying wine, but I refused it since I have yet to develop the taste for alcohol (I honestly don't care that my tastebuds are underdeveloped, but I wouldn't mind if one day I suddenly liked wine). I sat between Susan Smith, Senior VP of Public Affairs for the National Confectioners Association and Angie McKenzie, Products Manager for Starbucks who spoke in the second panel. Susan was fun to talk to as I somewhat explained my blog to her and she told me how she definitely didn't plan on being in the NCA (although she did grow up in a farming family, so she's always had a connection to food), but...hey, going to candy conventions while getting paid for it is pretty awesome. Angie was also fun to talk to because, holy shizz (if anyone's wondering, my use of the term "shizz" is completely Sarah's fault), she's actually seen my blog before! SCORE. She asked me the name and I guess the title sticks into people's minds, so she recognized it.

"I don't actually eat everything," I explained. I like to mention that sometimes because otherwise I'm afraid people will actually think that I eat everything. My blog title is a lieee. A better title would be, "The Girl Who Eats A Lot More Than She Should", but that's way too long and it doesn't play much upon the title of Jeffrey Steingarten's book.

Onto the meal and the food porn.


We started with "Cremini Mushroom and Bitter Chocolate Risotto with White Truffle Oil", garnished with chives and thin slabs of cheese that I couldn't identify. I liked the dish, although I don't have much to compare it to since I've rarely eaten risotto in my life. It was...creamy. Al dente. Brown. The chocolate taste was interesting in a savory dish, although not necessarily something I'd think about eating again. Of course, I ate the whole thing.

beef meat stuff

The entree was "Cocoa-Dusted Beef Tenderloin in a Guiness and Dark Chocolate-Rosemary Sauce with Asparagus and Spring Pea Ragout". Yes, a bit of a lengthy description. I have to admit that I can't remember what the sauce tasted like, which I suppose means it wasn't bad or mindblowingly awesome. From the viewpoint of someone who isn't a huge fan of beef slab, I prefered the ragout over the tenderloin. There wasn't anything wrong with the tenderloin—it was pink, juicy, radiating with bovine fleshiness—but I like my carbs (in this case, pastina, which I don't think I've ever eaten before) and I would actually list asparagus and peas among my favorite kinds of vegetables.

060508 047

Alas, my favorite part: DESSERT. We each received a trio of extremely tiny cupcakes (but hey, there were three of em): White Chocolate with Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Icing, Milk Chocolate with Honey-Creme Fraiche, and Dark Chocolate with Five Spice Glaze. The white chocolate one was most "eh" to me because of the almost financier-esque, slighty chewy texture (not that that's a bad thing, it just wasn't what I was expecting in a cupcake). The chocolate cupcake had a more moist, soft texture that I liked, but I couldn't discern much of the five-spice flavor. The milk chocolate cupcake was my favorite because of the interesting creme-fraiche honey frosting. It had a slight tang and was creamier than the other frostings. Oh yes, I like my high creaminess factor.

I shouldn't be too critical of the meal since it's not like I can cook much. Also, free food is automatically awesome. I don't think using chocolate for the sake of using chocolate is the best idea in the world, but it made sense at a chocolate symposium.


I needed some more sugar after the meal, so I grabbed a pack of Kissables from one of the chocolate baskets on the way out of the dining room. They're adorable, eh? Right now they're adorably being pulverized by my stomach acids. Wee!

060508 052

Bill Guyton, president of the World Cocoa Foundation, gave a presentation about the foundation and how its affecting cocoa farmers around the world. During the first two panels I was actually wondering what the companies' positions on labor practices on cocoa farms (which are mainly situated in poor "developing" nations—70% of the world's cocoa is grown in West Africa) were since we touched upon the issue in my "Food and Nutrition in a Global Society" class. None of the representatives mentioned it, but Bill gave a nice overview of the WCF and how it's helping to increase productivity, set ethical labor practices, improve education and help the environment. The foundation set up "Farmer Field Schools" to educate farmers and although it has only affected a small percentage of the roughly 3.5 million cocoa farms worldwide (I don't remember the exact number).

cacao pod
cacao pod of doom

Before his presentation, Bill cut open some cacao pods to pass around. DELICIOUS. This is where your candy bar comes from, folks. It's better than staring at a butchered cow, at least.

060508 054 060508 055
scientific panel

The last panel titled "Science, Nutrition, Health Benefits" was moderated by Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D., and author of Diet Simple, and featured panelists (from left to right) Dr. Dennis Savaiano Ph.D. (Dean of the College of Consumer and Family Sciences, Dept. of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University), Dr. Leah Porter Ph.D.(VP of Scientific Affairs, Chocolate Manufacturers Association), Dr. R. Curtis Ellison M.D . (Professor of Medicine and Public Health, Chief of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Boston University) and Dr. Joanne Holden, Ph.D., Research leader, USDA). My note taking died off by this point, but I found the panel interesting. Dr. Ellison in particular was a fun dude. He can put that in his credentials: " M.D., and Robyn-certified fun dude". Seriously though, they were talking about how research done on the health benefits of chocolate may just be touching the tip of the iceberg, but it's also showing a lot of promise that may allow dieticians to suggest the inclusion of the somewhat nutritionally taboo chocolate in one's diet and provide the chocolate industry with a crucial marketing perspective...kind of like how red wine became insanely popular after people realized that it didn't lead to instant alcoholism, or else the French would be completely doomed.

I summed up that panel just a bit too quickly, but hey, I'm not getting paid to do this. I still have to cram for my final...dammit.


Alright, I guess I was paid. IN MORE CALORIES THAN I'LL EVER NEED, figuring I'm not stranded in a forest left to live on calorically-dense confections. The back pile consists of what was in the bag (except for the book) and the front pile is what I swiped from the tables and various chocolate baskets. I ate a lot of it already and I'm not too proud of it.

crunch bar
crunch bar

One thing I ate was the dark chocolate caramel filled Crunch Bar. It wasn't bad, but the caramel gave too much sweetness and took away from the solid crunchiness that I like about crunch bars. Don't caramelize my crunch bar! Ah well, it's not bad.

Okay, I'm really going to study now. Please wish me luck on my final, although if I failed I think I'd still pass the course. While talking to Susan about my blog, she asked me how I found the time to write it. Just so you know, this semester I took 18 credits, worked part-time (eh, only 13 hours a week though), and I never missed a class, although there were a few times that I shaved off work time. My grades aren't that bad (I got an A in my food history class; HOHO what a mistake!) so I've decided that opposed to being smart or adept at organizing time, maybe food studies just isn't that hard. Oops. PUTTING MY EDUCATION TO GOOD USE, AM I?!

Anyhoo. I hope you enjoyed this entry. I left out a lot, but it's pretty freakin' long and obviously the event was much more interesting in real life than a word and photo-filled recap can convey. While I was listening to the panelists, I couldn't think of many other topics that I'd actually be that interested in hearing about. Ice cream? Sandwiches? Penguins? Seriously, what else?

Many thanks to Amy Storey for allowing this wee blogger to grace the professional world of chocolatiers and established media with her lack of social/networking skills and ...outfit of a t-shirt and jeans. I had an awesome time! LET'S DO IT AGAIN, WEEHEE!!


cybele / May 9, 2006 1:27 AM

I. Am. So. Jealous.

(Good luck on your final. I hear chocolate helps you learn.)

I love Wilbur, I hope you enjoy that bar (not quite Guittard, but still lovely).

I even got a Dark Chocolate 100 Grand over the weekend - tasty!

Oh, and when I saw that cacao pod pop up on your flickr stream, um, I thought it was a squid tentacle. I should have known better.

JJ / May 9, 2006 2:01 AM

Girl, so YOU were the reason I didn't have class today, huh? =) You are so lucky you got to go, I would've given anything to be able to attend the event, I'm so jealous! Sounds like you had a very productive and great time.

Mahar / May 9, 2006 2:50 AM

I am jealous too.

I love chocolate, especially the hazelnut kind. My favorite memories of Europe involve me being croissants at 7 in the morning from the local boulangerie and smearing them with Nutella. Holy crap.

Mila / May 9, 2006 4:33 AM

Robyn, good luck on the exams. And maybe you could use your connections with the chocolate mafia to get a job in confections (confection connections... how's that for a job title?)!
lovely post, even read about the penguin babies to circus bit lol!

chocolatesuze / May 9, 2006 5:11 AM

ohmygod you got all that yummy goodness for FREE!?!!? you are way lucky lol (and talented) haha and i like that shot of the cacao pods cybeles right it looks like a monster tentacle!

Jessie / May 9, 2006 6:48 AM

Oh Wow.

I can't even express how jealous I am. But in the nicest way possible.

I am thoroughly enjoying living vicariously through your yummy lifestyle!

chochotte / May 9, 2006 7:01 AM

Oh I am beyond jealous. Lovely pictures, too, especially the 'kissables' one.

Please don't eat Nestle things =( They are bad bad people. I know ethical shopping can be a slippery slope that seems to lead to a point where your only option is to sit quietly with your hands folded and touching nothing, but seriously. My university union won't stock their produce and so many people I know boycott them as far as they can.

Allen Wong / May 9, 2006 7:32 AM

Woah. A badge, a badge! Finally, new lines of dark chocolate. I might actually eat candy again. :O

Hehe, note-taking. I'm terrible at taking notes. More like I don't do it. OH WELL.

That cocao pod looks like a sack of developing embryos. :) I hope you're going to eat and document all of that. Slowly of course. :D Innards, yo!

P.S: I noticed "post process" in the sidebar. Hells yeah! ;D

Cathy / May 9, 2006 9:24 AM

What a cool experience! Free Chocolate, special "media access", FREE CHOCOLATE! You say you're not sure what you want to do with your Food Studies Degree, but it seems swinging towards the media(?) side of it could be a fun option, not to mention fattening ;) Maybe there's a pastry convention you can get in on.

BTW- I am also quite jealous of your free chocolate stash. Good luck with your exam!

roboppy / May 9, 2006 10:45 AM

Cybele: chocolate helps me learn? I should've eaten more!

I've never tried Wilbur before. I'm sure I'll enjoy it ALL CHOCS, WEEHEE. I haven't tried the Guittard chocs yet.

Cacao pods look pretty nasty. Like they're alive. And full of goo.

JJ: HAHA, oh man that was so me. ;D I'm sure attending lots of food related shows are in your future, eh? I always considering going to the Fancy Food Show or whatnot, but I'm not into ALL kinds of food, just chocs. And cake. And ice cream.

Mahar: I love hazelnut too! I think that's why I liked chocolate bars in England more than here; more stuff has hazelnut. Here there's a lot of peanut, but that's not my fave.

I hope I can make a similar croissant memory. :)

Marvo: ZOMG, yes, you must. Can you find the Japanese gum? Melody says it's horrible,, you should try it.

Mila: Mm, chocolate mafia ever.

AHAA you read the penguin babies part. Woo!

suze: The cacao gives me nighmares! Wah.

Jessie: I would love to share the chocolate-ness with everyone! ...But so far I only gave a bunch of chocs to my friend Patty since she conveniently lives in my dorm.

chochotte: Oh...I know about the Nestle milk thing. :| To be fair, I don't really buy much by Nestle. I mean...(thinks)...yeah, I rarely buy candy bars as it is. I'd have no problem not buying ANY Nestle product ever, but there are a gajillion other things I shouldn't buy because of ethical issues. These shoes I'm wearing right now were probably made with slave labor or something. I ate a Toblerone the other day and that'd owned by Altria. My nougaty chocolate is not safe. Nothing is really safe. I'm not really boycotting anything, it's just that I don't particularly like any of this stuff. I notice that Nestle owns many pet food brands, and I'd tell people not to buy the pet food not so much because it's Nestle but because the food is probably crap.

I don't like the company Coke, but that's only a bit of the reason I wouldn't want to drink their products. (I don't like soda...not that I'd drink their non-soda products either.) I don't really take a strong point on, this comment is too long, I forgot what I aas talking about. I DON'T TAKE POSITIONS ON ANYTHING. BLOOP. CHOCS. NO MORE NESTLE.


Sack of developing embryos...thanks for the comforting image. Sack. Of. Embryos.

Oh god, I so have not been documenting everything. But really, the inside of one piece of chocolate will probably look like another. "Hey, it's brown and has my teeth marks!" WEE! WEE?

Haha, you noticed "post process"'s in quotes!

Cathy: I still don't know what I want to do! :( I don't think I'm cut out for the media stuff. I like being an amateur so that I can write underdeveloped crap in the span of a few hours intead of having to take the time to edit anything. Buuuh!

I wish I could go to a pastry convention!

janet / May 9, 2006 11:09 AM

man. i am so in the wrong field. i mean, opera vs chocolate. puhleaze. clearly clearly clearly, go for edible.

i've never seen cacao pods before. they look like alien pods. DELICIOUS ALIEN PODS.

i like how everybody looks so official on the panels but they're talking about chocolate and they seem down to earth, from your descriptions.

And lemme tell you... those media types? a lot of them don't edit. and they can't write. but you can write! That's what editors are for!!

good enough cook / May 9, 2006 11:24 AM

I scrolled through quickly, I confess. The cacao pod stopped me short, though--at first I thought it was some wierd kind of pizza, so I stopped to see what kind of wierd pizza they'd offer at a choco-vention...then I read the caption and realized it was a cacao pod.

Thanks for blogging the honeydew egg custards!

Good luck on finals--and get back to eating!

Clare / May 9, 2006 12:49 PM

Not to sound like a mum (cos I am not!), but this little event is just the beginning of your foodie career! To be invited this early on says great things about your future in food. I think it's great that you are getting involved in these things without even trying. Keep up the awesome work!! BTW, as one who loves beef slabs, I was seriously drooling over that main course...YUM.

Sera / May 9, 2006 1:54 PM

I'm so jealous Robyn! It looks like ti was so much fun and you got to leanr a lot of really interesting (and overlooked) things about chocolate.

I'd love to healp you eat that "swag" you aquired.... is the dark chocolate 100 Grand bars? I just love the normal ones...

Annie / May 9, 2006 2:16 PM

1) They had chocolate gum when I was a kid (1970's). It was called "Ice Cream gum" and it came in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. The chocolate was good even though the flavor didn't last very long.

2) I think that's shaved parmagiana cheese on the risotto. It usually is.

Jane / May 9, 2006 3:17 PM

I doubt that you need another person to tell you how FREAKIN' jealous she is, but I'm just gonna alert you to my intense intense level of jealousness anyway. wow. i feel like i have just discovered what i want to do with my life! good luck on your final :)

tian / May 9, 2006 9:37 PM

hey robyn, i agree with Mila and Clare. the hobnobbing with these people can get you somewhere when you graduate .. *wink, wink* and then, don't forget the rest of us, you know, the loyal readers who check out your blog almost daily.

roboppy / May 9, 2006 9:50 PM

Janet: Cacao is definitely one of those things that makes me wonder "...Who decided to eat this?" Like durian. Maybe someone was desperate.

All the panelists were nice, yup! What I noticed though is that most people were...average sized white people? HAHA. Or. Not obese from all the chocolate.

Ah, I forgot that people need editors. :)

good enough cook: AH HA, SCROLLER! That's okay. :)

Clare: It's not just the beginning of my fooding career, but ...DIABETES.

I'm getting sick of all this chocolate. Sad! I just tried a semi-sweet bar from yesterday and felt a bit blech afterwards.

Anyhoo, as long as people don't mind me going to these events, I'll gooo! Better if I don't have to socialize with anyone, HAHAHA! Um.

Sera: I just ate the 100 Grand bar! It's not that dark, just darker than the original one. It had too much caramel for me...I like the rice puff bits more. :\

I'm so jealous Robyn! It looks like ti was so much fun and you got to leanr a lot of really interesting (and overlooked) things about chocolate.

Annie: 1) Whoa, I never heard of that. Sounds kinda yummy?

2) Yeah, that sounds right. I DON'T KNOW MY CHEESES.

Jane: Just a day after the symposium, I feel kinda sick of eating all this chocolate. Not that anyone's FORCING me...but...good god, I ate too much. WAAH!

tian: Oo, hobnobbing...(rubs hands together). I'm horrible at making connections. Seriously, any good connections I have are purely out of luck.


grace / May 10, 2006 10:33 AM

wow robyn, you're like foodie blogger celebrity status for being invited! that kind of status is good for connections and you know, most important of all, FREE STUFF

did you take your final yet? if you did, hope you kicked its ass

Phern / May 10, 2006 11:39 AM

Mmm, chocolate convention! I'd give my right arm so that I could smell and fondle vast amounts of chocolate!

Robyn, you should have worn an extra large trench coat with big pockets so you could smuggle out more samples.

Those dark chocolate Raisonettes look very tempting...and I love how there was an annoucement about Coffee Crisp arriving in the US.

I use to have a pen pal in Minnesota and I use to send him boxes of Coffee Crisp through the mail on a monthly basis!

Chubby Hubby / May 10, 2006 10:41 PM

What an excellent experience. So cool that you are now getting invited to things as a member of the media -- which of course we bloggers are ;-)

That chocolate risotto looks great. You wouldn't have a recipe of it, would you?

From Our Kitchen / May 10, 2006 11:58 PM

Wow. I am sooo jealous. If I went to a chocolate conference I'd smuggle out tons of chocolate like Homer Simpson does at the candy convention. It'd be great. I kinda like the idea of chocolate lotion/soap/body stuff. I'd rather smell like food than flowers. Everyone should smell like freshly baked cookies! So, did you have a favorite chocolate?

Julia / May 11, 2006 1:35 AM

Great entry, I read every word. You should not apologize for yourself - you are a wonderful writer. I read you every day. Note that I don't buy magazines every day (otoh they're not free! HA!)

roboppy / May 11, 2006 11:02 AM


Amy: I'd share my stash if you were here.

grace: Free stuff makes Robyn gain a million pounds. I dunno if it's that good!

Ohh my final kinda sucked, but I think I passed. YAY.

Phern: Wow, you're like a chocolate fairy! That is cool.

I wouldn't have wanted any more chocolate! Ahhh! TOO MUCH ALREADY.

Chubby Hubby: I do have a recipe! I'll email it to you.

From Our Kitchen: I don't know if I want to smell like chocolate. It's not a BAD smell...I guess it's just weird because I'm not used to it. :) BAKERY SMELL IS AWESOME THOUGH! Someone should make that into soap.

I didn't have a favorite choc! :|

Julia: Thanks for reading the whole thing! :) I don't read many food magazines, ironically. COS I GOT BLOOOOGS!

Backyard Chef / May 11, 2006 11:55 AM

You are one lucky ducky! The gates of choco-heaven have swung open for you, which must make you some kind of cocoa angel, or something...Great re-cap of the event. I event resisted the urge to let me eyes drift from the words to the prOn...that took some restraint...

Hope the exams are treating you well...

Therese Sua / May 13, 2006 7:40 AM

(you said) staring at the slaughtered cacao pod is better than staring a slaughtered (murdered) cow. I totally agree, bein vegetarian :)

Sylvia / May 13, 2006 7:26 PM

Thanks for posting such a detailed description of the chocolate convention in the face of your looming final! I don't mean to advocate procrastination or anything, but your entry was so entertaining and interesting I just wanted to thank you for posting it. :D

I love chewy bread too! You have good taste. :D

Dina / May 14, 2006 8:41 AM

Reading this entry is probably the best thing that will happen to me this Mother's Day.

I love your blog.

You're a great writer. You're great with food photography.

And for the record, I don't think you've gained too much weight. At least not yet. You look very cute in your pictures!

roboppy / May 14, 2006 6:11 PM

Sylvia: I'm glad you enjoyed the recap! Even without the distraction of this blog, I still would've sucked on my final. So. WOO! This is me being productive. (sits in front of laptop for hours on end) :D

Dina: Thanks! My mothers day is quite uneventful too, but we had a mother's day lunch yesterday, soo...the celebration is over.

I probably gained 10 POUNDS OR SOMETHING, but I refuse to let the scale tell me. My clothes will either fit...or not. Humdeedum!

Sera / June 28, 2008 10:05 AM

Guittard is my ultimate favorite for chocolate bars
quetzalcoatl 72% bittersweet is amazinggggggg
i could just lie in bed eating that one chocolategasm after another

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