In the small town of Portland, Ct. the first Saturday of February is now well-known as Chocolate Festival day. We are “the little church that could”, because we accomplish big things. There is a spirit of togetherness, cooperation, and fun in all that we do.
This was our sixteenth time producing this annual event, and each time it seems to get better and better. The people come early and stand in line outside in the cold until the doors open, and then swarm inside trying to get to their favorite booth(s) for baked goods or candy or gifts. Some folks head right to the “Chocolate Moose Cafe” for a choice seat and first dibs on the mouth-watering desserts being served fresh and warm from the kitchen.
If you asked me what my favorite part of it is, I wouldn’t be able to choose. Just walking into the room makes you smile and you feel happy and warm, because everything is so brightly decorated, and the booths are filled with gifts that are unique, and beautifully presented. The colors of red, pink and white are everywhere, even the people working there are dressed in these colors.
The greeting cards are all hand-made from actual photographs; a bargain at 3/ 5.00, centers are blank for your own message.
This event is the main fund-raiser of the year put on by the Women’s Fellowship, but many men also join in and contribute their services by helping with setting-up, taking down, clean-up, parking cars, and other services as needed. So many people pitch in to create this wonderful day, a lot of work, but so rewarding.
For my part, since the very first year, I have made truffles for the candy booth and I help to package them in their hand-made decorative boxes. Below are some pictures of our specialty candies and “pops”.
I also bake several different items for the baked goods booth.
These cardamom breads are one of the earliest baked items to sell out. They are baked by a gentleman member, who looks forward to making them for us each year.
Another gentleman provides us with chocolate chip cookies, recipe closely guarded, that are out-of-this-world!
Another of our specialties are the Swedish breads and coffeecakes. Pies and cakes, brownies, cookies, jams, crunchy snacks, etc, etc. We never know what we will have, but regardless, it all sells out.
This year I made two kinds of cookies. The pink sandwich hearts that I posted here yesterday, and some cookies made with Nutella that will be coming up on the blog very soon. So watch for them, they are scrumptious! Compared to what many others do my part is relatively small, but I enjoy the whole event immensely, especially those chocolate desserts that the kitchen crew creates and serves in the cafe.
Not everything sold or served is chocolate. This is a raspberry ripple cheesecake being cut with dental floss. Did you know that dental floss makes nice clean cuts for perfect servings?
Last, but not least, are the raffle baskets. Many people take on the task of creating a basket of theme-related items, and these baskets are raffled off at the end of the day. Here are a few of the baskets that were on display.
At this time of year, Huskie fever runs high, so we always have a UCONN Huskies basket.
So many baskets to take a chance on. Which one would you choose if you could? At the end of the day I received a phone call telling me that I had won the “Bucket of Books” basket. I was so happy, I love to read and a BIG bucket filled with books is just great.
I do hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of a wonderful day, and if you live within driving distance perhaps you can think about coming next year. Remember: the first Saturday in February. Mark you calendar, now! For further information, please e-mail me. ( see Contact page, above.) XOXO