At the preview for the upcoming Dallas Chocolate Festival we tasted scrumptious artisan bonbons, truffles, toffees, barks, brigadeiros, and macarons and talked to the makers.

Our favorites (try not to drool):

  • Dr. Sue's Midnight Mocha Bark. I nabbed a few extra bites of this bark made of dark chocolate mixed with a dark roasted ground coffee bean and loved it with breakfast, too.
  • Dallas Caramel Company's Armadillos. Rain McDermott nestles crunchy, fresh roasted Texas pecans between precise caramel and dark chocolate layers.
  • Toffee Treats. ML Dubay's family recipe consistently delivers perfect balance and crunch. I can't get enough of the Hatch Chile Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee.
  • Haute Sweets Patisserie. Chef Tida Pichakron's array of sweet delights starred many textured delights - macarons and a passion fruit ganache chocolate bonbon.
  • The brigadeiro, made by pastry chef Edvone Goncalves, who named her company - Nina Brigadeiro - after her mother. The soft chocolate interior rolled in sprinkles is the Brazilian classic and the flavor variations are endless; I loved the one rolled in parmesan cheese.
  • Frankie V's Kitchen makes Something Powerful, a complete meal replacement - for your vegan friend, and Something Chocolate.
  • David Collier, pastry chef for Knife and Oak, inspired us with a workshop demo, cheered us with his wit and advice for choosing the right tools, and sent us off with a dreamy chocolate macaron and fine confections.

And there are bars. Bars made by bean-to-bar chocolate makers who source cacao beans directly from farmers, process and roast the beans themselves, controlling every step to the finished product. The single origin bars are likened to single vineyard wines. As with wine, you can extend your enjoyment over time, learning about the origins and distinctive differences.

I sipped Lakewood Temptress to clear my palate. Others paired samples with a full-bodied Zin, an Italian sweet red and Temptress.

You'll want to meet Sander Wolf, founder of the festival. Not just a guy with a sweet tooth, he's championing chocolate makers as Bart Weiss has championed film and video makers.

Buy tickets now for The Art of Chocolate, Saturday, September 12, 2015, at the Addison Conference Centre. Before you tap ORDER NOW, enter the promotional code WineChocolate. Tap "Apply" to receive 10% off the regular ticket price, and then ORDER NOW.