ASHLAND, Ore. – The 19th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival officially wrapped up in Ashland this weekend.
The Ashland Hills Hotel was packed Sunday with chocoholics and vendors alike, sampling some of the tastiest chocolates around.
Visitors sampled from around 50 vendors, offering some unique chocolates, as well as chocolate pairings from all over the west coast and the world.
Cru Chocolate, a company based out of Roseville California, specializes in chocolate drinks.
“What’s unique about our chocolate is that it is rooted in Mesoamerican culture and heritage, and for us, drinking chocolate is our passion and that’s why we specialize in it,” said Karla McNeil-Rueda, Owner of Cru Chocolates.
Cru has been making chocolate for almost a decade and had a wide variety of different drinks with cacao sources specifically for each recipe.
There were also vendors selling chocolate pairings, like the only distillery in Redmond Oregon, Gompers Distillery.
“Gompers is my wife’s maiden name, we named it after her grandfather Herman who was a holocaust survivor from Holland, and a lot of people don’t know that gin started in Holland, so he was our gin-speration when we started,” said Michael Hart, Owner of Gompers Distillery.
Hart said their vodka makes an excellent chocolate martini, and their gin pairs great with a number of different chocolates and cheeses.
The festival also had a special guest this year, Anya Tatarenko, a local refugee from Ukraine.
Anya started making her delicious chocolates eight years ago in Ukraine.
She told us through her translator that she is sending all her profits from the festival to loved ones back in Ukraine.
“It’s a good opportunity to help other people and the people who just came from Ukraine especially, it’s lots of families. It’s a big pleasure to be able to help them,” said Tatarenko.
Some vendors said this year was much bigger than last year’s event, saying that this Saturday had many more people than they saw in 2022.
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