Will it be crowded at The Chocolate Expo?
People love chocolate, so the simple answer is “yes”… especially at the start of the Expo through about 4pm. After that, it tends to get a little less crowded. While this is the #1 concern expressed about the event, we hear this from less than 1% of attendees, who generally decide to arrive at the same time as everyone else. If you want to avoid the biggest crowds, come later in the day. Also, consider this issue and plan accordingly when bringing young children and elderly guests to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone. That said, if you absolutely hate crowds… The Chocolate Expo might not be the right event for you, and you should consider this before purchasing tickets and/or arriving during peak morning or early/mid-afternoon hours when everyone else wants to be there.
Since The Chocolate Expo is so highly attended, what do you do to ensure public safety?
We take the comfort and safety of our guests very seriously. At our request and expense, we have local or state Fire Marshals onsite for most or all of the day to ensure that the facility capacities are not exceeded and that emergency exits have unfettered access at all times. Local police and/or professional security personnel provide general security. Multiple EMTs are onsite for the entire day to handle any emergencies (for example, an allergic reaction). Finally, The Chocolate Expo is one of the very few food festival events in the entire United States that has its own professional Food Safety Team including a Public Health Sanitarian, an EMT and three ServSafe-certified managers. ServSafe is the industry standard for safe food handling and is based on the FDA Food Code.
What can I expect at your chocolate expo?
The Chocolate Expo is one of the largest consumer-oriented chocolate events in the United States based on the number of participating vendors, the number of attendees and the floor size of our show. We typically have 30-90+ vendors, depending on facility size and state regulations (with regards to winery & brewery inclusion), who offer tastings and sales of their products.
Is your event like Halloween? I mean… do a get to go around with a bag and get it loaded-up with lots of free candy to take home with me?
No. The Chocolate Expo is for people who are serious about chocolate and/or are “foodies,” not for people looking to load-up on free, cheap candy found in most grocery aisles. Vendors typically offer small tasting-sized portions of a variety of their products, which are to be consumed right away. Think of the chocolate tastings in the way you might think of a wine tasting at a winery — you get a small sample to try and you often get to talk with the person who made the product. If you like what you’ve tasted, you can purchase that product directly at the show for yourself or to give as gifts.
What kind of companies do you get as vendors?
Our vendors include artisanal chocolatiers, old-fashioned candy shops, bakeries, specialty food producers, wineries, distilleries, cideries and even some farms.
Do you have some vendors selling non-chocolate products?
While our emphasis and theme are centered around chocolate, we do allow a limited number of vendors with other products such as wines, spirits, cheeses, specialty foods, etc. Many of these products pair well with chocolate, while others are intended for “palate-cleansing,” much in the way cheese and crackers are used at a wine tasting event.
Do your vendors offer products for “special diets?”
Yes. A few of our vendors offer no-sugar-added, all-natural, organic, vegan, salt-free, gluten-free and/or kosher products. Please check with each vendor regarding special diets and any certifications.
Do big “name brand” chocolate companies participate?
Sometimes a big name company or their representatives will participate, but most of our vendors are small local & regional companies.