Chocolate extravaganza

Photo by Chuck Fishman.

The Chocolate Expo comes to the Granite State

The Chocolate Expo has garnered international attention since its start in 2006. This year the Expo will make its Granite State debut on Sunday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Expo Center in Manchester.

After organizing the Woodstock 35th Anniversary Celebration in 2004 and switching his company, Baum Image Group, from high technology to event production, Marvin Baum created a chocolate event for New York’s official holiday celebration in 2006.

“That was the kernel of the idea that became The Chocolate Expo,” he said.

What was then a New York chocolate and holiday gift market evolved into what is now the biggest chocolate event in the country.

“We call ourselves the official home of chocolate, food and fun,” Baum said. “It’s basically a tasting and sales event so people can come and try things from a variety of vendors and if they like what they taste they can buy it. This year for New Hampshire I think we have one of our best lineups of vendors that we’ve ever had. It’s just a really nice mix of interesting products.”

The lineup consists of more than 90 vendors, including Kimball Fruit Farm from Hollis, Muncha’s Marshmallows based in Lebanon, Spin Fluff Cotton Candy, The Wine Slushie Guy, Wickedly Wild Waffles as well as wineries, distilleries, bakeries and vendors selling hot sauces, dips and specialty foods.

“We’re trying to help small, local businesses and regional businesses by bringing this all together,” Baum said. “We’re in a very unique position to have things that are different that you’re not going to find if you go to an average street fair. Now we also bring it together with entertainment and celebrity chef demonstrations and things like that.”

Celebrity chefs include Food Network’s Chopped champion Chef Clara, Cutthroat Kitchen winner DJ Chef, who will also be playing music, and Food Network’s Chef Lawrence. There will be a kids zone with crafts, face painting and balloon twisting, and New Hampshire magician Dasean Greene, also known as the Magic Man, will be mingling and demonstrating his talent throughout the event.

In the spirit of Halloween, the Sanderson sisters from Hocus Pocus, impersonated by a group from Massachusetts, will make an appearance, as will Uncle Fester from the Addams family and Star Wars characters.

“Chocolate is something that really unites people,” Baum said. “People associate good times with chocolate. … We probably sold more tickets in advance than we ever have for any other show. I think it’s going to sell out because people are that excited.”

The Chocolate Expo
Where: 155 Dow St., Manchester
Cafe hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; closed on Sundays.
Salon hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed on Sunday

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

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