“Three industries always do well in hard economic times: liquor, porn and chocolate,” says Colorado Chocolate Festival promoter Dana Cain, named Best Modern-Day P.T. Barnum in the Best of Denver 2011. “Whatever else has been going on with the recession, the chocolate business has been good! This is the Colorado Chocolate Festival’s fourth year, and each year we get more vendors and thousands more people. This year, for the first time, admission is free, and we’re expecting as many as 10,000 chocolate lovers.”

And there will be plenty of sweets on hand for them at the fest, which runs from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m tomorrow at the Denver Merchandise Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue. Colorado is home to some of the country’s biggest chocolatiers — including the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (Durango), Enstrom’s (Grand Junction) and Patsy’s (Colorado Springs) — as well as dozens of smaller artisan candy makers; more than a hundred vendors will be featured at the festival, all offering samples and selling their wares just in time for Mother’s Day.

Main events include a chocolate-and-whiskey pairing at 7 p.m. tonight with “chocolate therapist” Julie Pech, followed by the Chocolate Cake Awards at 8 p.m., with $1,000 grand prizes on the line in each of three categories; the “Truffle Trifecta” Chocolatier Championship goes down tomorrow at 2 p.m. Tasting tickets are $1 apiece, with advance discounts online at, where you can also get more information.
May 6-7, 2011


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