Sure, flowers are nice, but it seems that only chocolate puts that particular sparkle in the eyes of moms everywhere on Mother’s Day.
Especially if it’s local chocolate. And especially if you go to a festival to taste various chocolates in the days preceding the holiday. Just for quality control, you know. Research.
Several chocolates made in Boulder County will be making an appearance at the annual Colorado Chocolate Festival, being held at the Denver Merchandise Mart this weekend, May 6-7.
Black Star Chocolates, a six-month old company with a commissary kitchen in Lafayette, will have a booth at the festival.
“There’s going to be a lot of free chocolate to go around,” co-owner Andrew Starr says of the festival.
He and his business partner, Jennifer Spielman, met while working together at the National Center for Voice and Speech in Denver. They soon realized they shared a passion for cooking, and spent a couple of years experimenting with their creations before launching Black Star.
“We like to make it really, really good,” Starr says, describing one of his favorites, a salted caramel truffle.
His day job is managing the Boulder audio studio Airshow Mastering, but his weekends and evenings are spent in the Lafayette kitchen with Spielman, engaged in the time-intensive process of hand-making and hand-dipping their chocolates.
One that Starr says should be popular among moms on their big day is a twist on the classic cherry cordial. Black Star’s liqueur-free version involves a Swiss dark chocolate, fresh mint leaf and cherries from Italy.
And Starr wants to make each piece a memory. “You don’t remember the last time you ate a Snickers bar, but you might remember a ganache with fresh mint paired with a chocolate that works just right,” he says.
In addition to the festival, Black Star chocolates can be found at the Truffle Cheese Shop in Denver and can be ordered online at www.blackstarchocolates. com.
Another local chocolatier who will have a booth at the festival is Robin Autorino of Robin Chocolates in Longmont. Last year, her lemon soufflé molded chocolate took a first-place award at the event.
She cautions attendees to not overdo it on the free chocolate samples at the festival, because you could make yourself ill.
Autorino, whose creations are for sale at the Cayenne Kitchen, at 372 Main St. in Longmont, plans to open her own store in September. She is featuring a 12-piece box of chocolates specifically for Mother’s Day.
Concertos in Chocolate, located in Gunbarrel at 6395 Gunpark Dr., Suite R, will be offering one of its carob products at the festival, in conjunction with the Oh, Yes You Candy! line of dairy-free confections.
Concertos in Chocolate owner Chris Widlar says she has several creations that are perfect for Mother’s Day gifts, including a lemon-drop truffle with dried flowers on top, rose cream truffles made with real rose water, butterfly-shaped caramels and chocolate flowers.
While it won’t have a presence at the festival, Boulder’s Chocolove has a relatively new variety that has really taken off, its Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate, which is sure to be popular with moms.
Other local chocolatiers are offering distinctive Mother’s Day gifts. Piece, Love and Chocolate, which opened at 805 Pearl St. in Boulder this spring, carries a variety of cocoa bean-themed bed and bath products, in addition to chocolates and customizable cakes and tarts. Owner Sarah Amorese recommends gift items like a high-heeled pump filled with chocolates, or the line of “Chick Chocolates” that includes the “Power Chick Bar,” “Nutty Chick Bar,” “Survivor Chick Bar” and “Strong Chick Bar.”
The Colorado Chocolate Festival, described as “30,000 square feet of chocolate heaven,” will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 6, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 7. It will feature wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, competitions, a Mother’s Day gift market and activities for kids. For more information, see www.chocolate-festival.org.