The anticipation is rising as Miami’s favorite chocolate extravaganza, the Festival of Chocolate, returns to the enchanting Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables on January 20 and 21. The annual celebration, now in its 17th year, transforms the botanical haven into a chocolate-filled paradise, offering a delectable and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

The Festival of Chocolate at Fairchild Tropical Garden allows chocolate enthusiasts to journey into the heart of cacao and the artistry of chocolate-making. The organizers, led by Charity Hill from Epic Entertainment Group, have meticulously crafted an event to educate generations about the fascinating journey from a tiny cacao flower to the irresistible chocolate treats we all love. Hill emphasizes the universal appeal of chocolate, describing it as one of the most universal mediums. The event is thoughtfully curated to cater to multigenerational families and couples, blending education seamlessly with entertainment to align with Fairchild’s mission.

The two-day extravaganza boasts an array of activities, ensuring there’s something for everyone. From a diverse food and retail marketplace to live music, lawn games, face painting, and even a bubble dance party, the Festival creates an immersive experience. However, the show’s real stars are the chocolate events, featuring over 15 renowned chocolatiers like Key West Sweets, Club Chokolate, Cao Chocolates, and Omg Brigadeiros.  

For the younger attendees, the Chocolate Express awaits, ready to take them on a delightful ride around the garden. The Chocolate Olympics add a playful twist with cacao sack races, spoon balance races, and donut tosses, promising a chance to win the Golden Ticket – a passport to a special chocolate-making experience. Visitors can also unleash their creativity in the Chocolate Lab’s Sweetbar Studio. They can craft their chocolate bars from scratch for a nominal fee. Another enticing option is the Wine and Cupcakes experience, priced at $29, offering a delightful wine pairing with red, white, and sparkling wines, each complemented by three scrumptious cupcakes.

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Additionally, for the adults, the Cocoa Lounge beckons with a bourbon and chocolate tasting experience at $29, featuring Kakaozon chocolate paired with three different bourbons. Alternatively, they can indulge in a mini chocolate cocktail flight, showcasing tempting concoctions like the Mudslide Martini, Espresso Martini, and White Chocolate Strawberry Martini. 

This year, the Festival introduces an interactive chocolate-making experience, allowing participants to work with chocolate while learning about its history in the lush garden setting. Hill expresses excitement about this unique opportunity, emphasizing the importance of telling the compelling story of cacao’s origins.

Nannette Zapata, Deputy Director at Fairchild, highlights the Festival’s growth over its 17 years, championing its commitment to educating attendees about the rainforest ecology, where cacao thrives. The Festival’s interactive activities, including a chocolate trail, take visitors through the rainforest, laboratories, butterfly house, and children’s garden, all seamlessly infused with the essence of chocolate.

As the Festival of Chocolate at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden approaches, it stands as both a celebration of the beloved treat and a testament to the commitment of organizers to impart knowledge and create awareness about the ecological importance of cacao. To enjoy an enchanting weekend of chocolate delights and educational adventures, join the January 20 and 21 festivities at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables.