It's a real condition, that chocolate rush, and it arrives following a day of chocolate sampling. I had the honor and privilege of being a judge for the Downtown Excelsior Partnership Chocolate Tour in Excelsior Springs today. The chocolate rush that followed nearly had me dancing on the ceiling after, but, oh my, what a way to go.
The participating businesses brought out their finest cocoa-laden treats to entice attendees in their doors and then dazzle them with their wares and customer service. Judging by the hopping streets and crowded businesses when we judges passed through, the event appeared to be a great success. My fellow judges Kelly from The Gregg Williams Foundation, Kyle from Cerner and Mary from WDAF-Fox4 and I made the most of this quite awesome opportunity. Many of the merchants demonstrated impressive creativity and some of the samplings were outright revelatory; such as Penny University's Chocolate Bacon and Redmond Furniture's White Chocolate Buttered Popcorn. Penny U was in fact the first runner-up and Oooey Gooey Chocolates and their decadent Black Forest goodness were the Grand Prize and People's Choice Winner. There was also a grand-prize giveaway of a night's stay at the Southmoreland Inn at The Plaza, which features a Russell Stover room. The lucky winner was Jae Juarez. Many a sugary highlight was evident throughout the day, from Willow Spring's Creme Brulee Cupcakes and Chocolate Wine to Ventana's Chocolate Cheesecake with Cherry-Chocolate Beer to the Tiger Butter at Choreography Of Memories. Also, loved dipping pretzels in white chocolate at Gallery Off Broadway. I totally dug the many imaginative beverages today as well, from the Rock Star Mocha at Penny U to the Godiva shooter at the Atlas Saloon. There were even demonstration classes at The Hall Of Waters, on everything from chocolate "balloon bowls" to chocolate cocktails.
It was an overdose of chocolate love today and what better way to spend a dreary, drizzly Saturday in February. Most of all, the true kick came from seeing the throngs of visitors moving through downtown, especially the newcomers.