Chocolate Expo comes to Hofstra University: Treats to try
Walking into this year’s Chocolate Expo you’ll be greeted by a trio of fountains dripping white, dark and milk chocolate with treats being freshly dipped in front of your eyes. Choosing between skewers of marshmallows and Rice Krispies Treats or strawberries and pineapples is just the beginning.
Chocoholics of Long Island, get ready for your cacao passion to kick in as The Chocolate Expo returns, this year at a new location, Hofstra University’s David S. Mack Sports & Exhibition Complex in Hempstead, on March 12 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., promising to deliver up to 100 vendors.
“People feel good when they are eating chocolate,” says event producer Marvin Baum. “It’s a food that is associated with happy occasions and many childhood memories.”
Here are some treats to taste during your day of delectables.
THE CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN
The entryway spectacle, run by Aurora Gourmet from Orangeburg, includes dipping options such as bananas and cream puffs. Skewers range from $7 to $10. Add $2 if you want them served in a waffle cone or waffle bowl.
Bacon has become the popular pairing with chocolate in various ways at the Bacon Bites booth from Fairview, N.J.
“It’s the classic combo of salty and sweet,” says owner Larry Rosenberg. “Initially, people thought it was strange, and now it’s more mainstream.”
Take your pick — there are 4-ounce boxes of chocolate covered bacon ($20), double-stuffed Oreos topped with bacon, chocolate and candy pink pigs (box of three for $15), bacon chocolate 3-ounce crunch bars ($15) or chocolate-covered pork rinds ($20 per box).
CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS
Sink your teeth into an old-school, New York-style soft pretzel, which is 8 inches wide, covered in chocolate, from Levittown’s Knot of this World.
“It’s a good combination because the pretzels are savory and then it’s contrasted by the chocolate, which is sweet,” says owner Ray Ruffino. “The caramel brings it all together.”
The pretzels ($10 each) come with a variety of toppings like almonds, sprinkles, coconut, M&M’s and crushed Oreos.
BITE INTO A BONBON
For a more sophisticated chocolate experience, try the high-end artisan bonbons made by 2 Chicks with Chocolate of Middletown, N.J., along with wine- and liquor-infused treats.
“These are two-bite bonbons,” says co-owner Elyissia Chinchilla. “Everything is made from scratch, whether it’s caramel or ganache. We don’t use any fake flavorings or fillings.”
The bonbons come in over 35 flavors (hazelnut, margarita, crème brûlée, cheesecake, lava cake) and are sold in boxes of four ($15.95) to 12 ($44.95) and up.
PEANUT BUTTER & CHOCOLATE PIE
Fans of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups will flip for the peanut butter and chocolate pie by Laurel’s Butter of Bohemia.
“It’s a dense, thick, decadent pie that’s addicting,” says owner Laurel Shortell. “Everything is natural. There are no added oils, sugars or preservatives.”
The 9-inch pie sells for $30, or $5 a slice. They also offer 15 flavored nut butters (banana bread, dark chocolate almond, dark chocolate sunflower, white chocolate and coconut), which are $10 for 8 ounces. or $19 for 16 ounces.
BRING ON THE CHOCOLATE CAKE!
Solemate Cakes of Manhasset sell their own signature chocolate cake using Belgian cacao topped with chocolate powdered sugar.
“Our cakes have a unique texture,” says owner Jolene Todaro. “They are soft and chewy on the inside with a nice crunch on the outside.”
The cake is sold by the slice ($6) or as a full-size cake ($29-$38) in various flavors (almond, lemon, blueberry, apple cinnamon crumb) along with chocolate.
There will be a truckload of truffles at the expo, including a fusion of Brazilian and French delicacies from Vivilicious Chocolates of Bellingham, Mass.
“These are light and velvety truffles that are crispy outside and made with Belgian chocolate,” says owner Viviane Gontijo. “There’s a creamy center with butterscotch notes, but not gooey or chewy like most caramels.”
The flavors vary from passion fruit, raspberry and dark chocolate to coconut creme, pistachio and caramel mousse. They are sold in boxes of six ($25), 12 ($48) and 24 ($70).
Meanwhile, Brigadeiro Warehouse of The Bronx presents its Brazilian chocolate truffles.
“They have a strong chocolate flavor with no added sugars,” says owner Gabriela Pollack. “One taste and they will melt in your mouth.”
Brigadeiro truffles come in chocolate, strawberry, banana, passion fruit and lime. They are sold in boxes of four ($8) and 12 ($20).
In between snacking, kids can play in the Kidz Zone, where there will be face painting, balloon twisting artists and a variety of craft activities for free. Photo ops with "Star Wars" characters from The 501st Legion's Empire City Garrison and actor Paris Themmen, who played Mike Teavee in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” will be available as well. Plus, cooking demos are planned for DJ Chef (“Cutthroat Kitchen”) Chef Francis Legge (“Master Chef,” “Beat Bobby Flay”) and a performance from magician Eric Wilzig (“America’s Got Talent”).
THE CHOCOLATE EXPO
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., March 12; Hofstra University’s David S. Mack Sports & Exhibition Complex, 245 Hofstra University, Hempstead
ADMISSION Purchase timed entry tickets online: $20 adults, $10 children (5-12), free under 5; $40 VIP tickets (any time entry + deluxe insulated “Chocolate Fixes Everything” tote bag), $10 Late Day special (after 4 p.m.); At the door (if available): $30 adults, $15 children