Saturday, February 6, 2016

2016 Belmont Shore Chocolate Festival

Valentines Day is coming up soon, and without fail, the Belmont Shore Chocolate Festival coincides with it! It's the 12th annual celebration of chocolate here at the Belmont Shore along 2nd Street in Long Beach.

It's always more fun to do a festival like this with friends, so joining us this year are my brother and his entire family plus Jacob, Drew, and Ryan. The festival is one day only and only lasts for 2 hours from 1pm - 3pm! Ticket books are $10 for 12 tickets, so each ticket is $0.83. Most places offer items for 1-4 tickets.

Nick's on 2nd always puts out yummy food for the Belmont Shore Stroll and Savor, so I wanted to head there first since they occasionally sell out. Today they're offering mini peanut butter chocolate cakes for just 1 ticket each!

Alli, are you ready to try some real food for the first time? I thought this peanut butter cake with whipped cream frosting was a great start to the festival. 

As far as deals go, I think the Frosted Cupcakery offers one of the best values of the festival. These chocolate cupcakes and hi-tops are only 1 ticket each! And they're delicious too!

T and I got one of each type to split. Now most photos will probably show Theresa hold some food, but you can usually assume it's for me. My hands are pretty full holding Alli and my camera.

What about Ian? He fell asleep on the drive down and stayed asleep when we transferred him into the stroller. He doesn't know what he's missing out on. 

Did everyone get a cupcake for themselves? Sure does look that way. 

Oh Emma. She's enjoying that cupcake. 

After passing a couple places with prices that seemed a bit exorbitant (I'm looking at you Creamistry with your half dollar sized cupcakes for $1.65), we wound up at La Strada.

Here we enjoyed a very tasty chewy chocolate butter cookie, a not so tasty chocolate chip cookie, and a Mississippi mud pie brownie. Now I'll always enjoy the classic chocolate chip cookie or fudge brownie, but for a chocolate festival I want to try something interesting and unique!

There's quite a line outside the Urban Table. Wonder what sort of goodies they're offering this year. 

Hey! It's something interesting and unique! Chocolate Grilled Cheese sandwiches, short ribs with cacao, and chocolate chili? Hooray! T asked me which one to get. I told her I wanted to try all of them! She should have known. 

I'm not sure who would think to put chocolate on a grilled cheese sandwich. Luckily for us, they had just been brought to the table, so they were crispy and fresh. Taste-wise, I thought it was a good grilled cheese sandwich, but the addition of chocolate didn't really go with it. 

The favorite for many of our group were the cacao short ribs. The chocolate here was pretty subtle, but the ribs themselves were melt in your mouth tender and had a good flavor.  

Mmm. Short ribs. 

Well look who decided to wake up. Just in time to try some chocolate chili.

Same as last year for me on this one. If I hadn't known there was chocolate in here, I wouldn't have guessed it. The other chili flavors are so strong, the mild chocolate really doesn't come through. 

At Legend's Sports Bar, they had a chocolate dipped Oreo Rice Krispy treat that was big enough to split at least 4 ways.

The kids certainly loved it. 

This has to be the longest line I've seen today. What's everyone lined up down the block for from Powell's Sweet Shop? 

Mmm. Gelato and ice cream in chocolate cups, as well as chocolate covered strawberries. 

Ian was very happy to get his own ice cream. 

And Theresa shared bites of her chocolate covered strawberry with all the kids. Look at Ian taking a big bite of ice cream.

The strawberry ice cream from Powell's was probably my favorite treat of the day. 

People are starting to get a little sweeted out now. After passing a couple places selling cookies or chocolate hearts, we came to Cheese Addiction, which would hopefully add some savory to all the sweet we've been experiencing.

I had tried the chocolate cheese last year and I wasn't that big of a fan. Guess I'm getting a cheesy brownie and a cannoli. 

Jess really liked the cheesy brownie. 

Well that did it for the west side of the street. There were quite a few stores offering things. Time to cross over to the east side of 2nd street. Unfortunately the east side's offerings are a little more spread out. There were times when we'd walk 2 blocks with no stores having anything to offer.

What we did see a bit of were Girl Scouts selling Girl Scout cookies. Now I could see that going a couple different ways. If you see someone just as they're arriving, they might be in the mood for some cookies and you might sell a few boxes. But if someone's been walking around to lots of different shops and has been sampling all sorts of foods, they might just be sick of sweets and wouldn't even think about buying Girl Scout cookies. I wonder how all these girls did.

The very last stop for us was La Creperie with a chocolate crepe filled with strawberries and topped with whipped cream. Delicious. 

Where did the time go? The two hours seemed to have passed by really quickly. I'd consider today a very successful outing. Everyone got to try a wide variety of treats, and I got to try a few unique offerings like I was hoping. I'll bet you find us here again next year!

As we were walking back to the car, Ian kept wanting to go back to the shops to see what else was there. Probably wondering what he missed out on while he was sleeping and wants to get his own cupcake I'll bet. 

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