Is this Walt Whitman Shops or Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory?
That’s what the organizer of this year’s “I Love Chocolate Fest” hopes people will be asking themselves when the event lands at the mall in Huntington Station for the first time after traditionally being held at Old Bethpage Restoration.
The fifth annual festival — featuring everything chocolate — will be held rain or shine Saturday and Sunday outside the mall near New York Avenue and Lord & Taylor.
“We’re so excited about this coming to the mall,” says organizer Deborah Dufton of Cutchogue, citing easier parking and traffic flow for attendees.
Because of the new venue, there’ll be a lot of new features and attractions, Dufton says. “At Old Bethpage we relied on the beauty and backdrop, so we wanted to do something different for the mall,” Dufton says. That starts with a striking first impression: a 20-foot wide, 15-foot high structure marking the festival entrance. “It’s like a chocolate house,” she says. “There are giant lollipops, candy bars and candy canes on it with displays on both sides. There’s a chocolate waterfall … it’ll feel kind like ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.’”
WHAT YOU CAN TASTE (AND BUY)
About 100 vendors will be selling such goodies as soft pretzels stuffed with dark chocolate and cream cheese, chocolate-flavored bourbon and beer, and the requisite chocolate-covered bacon. Among some of the newer treats are dark chocolate cherry cheesecake nachos, liquor-infused chocolate pudding and grilled chocolate European pastries on a stick.
Festival admission includes five tickets for food samples and an I Love Chocolate Fest tote bag. Children’s tickets include five sample tickets and a bracelet for unlimited inflatable rides.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
From giant Wonka bars and Lindt truffles to a seven-foot slice of chocolate cake, the event will have a new range of fun exhibits. Visitors can see a giant dinosaur sculpted from candy corn, licorice, chocolate chips and gummy bears.
Over the two-day event, Robert McCue of “Hell's Kitchen” Season 8 will give instructions on making a sweet potato ice cream pie with torched marshmallow while Christina Bisbee of The Chocolate Duck in Farmingdale will show patrons how to decorate holiday cupcakes, cakes and work with chocolate molds.
Other entertainment includes live music and daily chocolate doughnut-eating contests.
Those who don’t want to feed just their sweet tooth, will find consolation in the savory — barbecue, gyros, crepes, sausages and hamburgers.
I Love Chocolate Fest
WHEN|WHERE 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9-10, at Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station.
INFO 631-488-0521, lovechocolatefest.com
ADMISSION $15 adults, $11 ages 4-12 ($12.50 adults, $10 ages 4-12 in advance); $25 VIP tickets include glass of wine, chocolate-covered strawberry and winter hat