Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

By C. Mae Waugh

Delectable. Decadent. Yummy.

These are just a few words used to describe the variety of treats at Chocolate Fest 2006 at Whole Foods Market Thursday evening.

“Customers love it,” said Chuck Olivieri, marketing team leader at Whole Foods. “Most come for the free stuff, but it’s good to get new customers here.”

The fifth annual festival took place at Whole Foods stores in New England and New York.

The corporate headquarters gave the stores a template and then the individual stores build upon them. Vendors provided the samples and general employees manned the stations, Olivieri said.

“We have a little bit of everything,” he said. “People are encouraged to enjoy it while it lasts.”

The goodies included chocolate brownies with homemade raspberry sauce, a variety of chocolate candy, energy bars and ice cream.

Jennifer Nakhai, a freshman psychology major, sampled the chicken mole, which is a combination of dark chocolate and spices. She liked it so much she purchased some to take home for dinner.

“Coming here has inspired me to shop at Whole Foods now,” she said.

In addition, there was chocolate mousse from Valrhona Manjari chocolate, Stirrings chocolate martinis and chocolate passion fruit soup made and served by chef and cookbook author, Andy Husbands.

As the celebrity of the evening, husband gave out samples of his chocolate soup, as well as willing to pass out cooking advice.

“Whole Foods and I have a strong connection,” he said. “We both work to alleviate hunger.”

If the empty plates filling the garbage cans were any indication, patrons seemed to enjoy what they sampled.

“We came for the free chocolate but we might need to buy some now,” said Mary Allen, who attended the event with friend and fellow senior journalism major Sydney Blake.

Blake also said she enjoyed the event.

“This was a good idea,” she said.

Whole Foods has a reputation of being healthy and Gail Shuman, regional demonstration supervisor, said the high-quality chocolate has no artificial ingredients.

“It’s amazing,” said Shuman, who has headed Chocolate Fest for the past four years.

“The samples are fabulous, and if the customers only eat it here, they don’t feel like they are doing anything wrong. People think everything here is healthy.”

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