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Andrew Starr and Jennifer Spielman of Black Star Chocolates win at the Colorado Chocolate Festival

This year's Colorado Chocolate Festival, held at the Denver Merchandise Mart this past weekend, had everything a chocolate lover could want: Over eighty vendors from all over the country offered cakes, cookies, fudge, toffee, coffee, frozen red wine slushies -- and, of course, all the chocolates and truffles you could stuff in your mouth.

The festival events this year included a chocolate and beer pairing, a chocolate pudding-eating contest, a chocolate-making demonstration, the chocolate cake contest and the highlight of the event: the Chocolatier Championships, in which chocolate makers from around the state entered their best chocolate creations to be judged for cash prizes. The categories were Best Fudge, Best Toffee, Best Chocolate Design, Best Open Class (bars, tiles and anything else) and the Grand Champion/Best of Show with a $500 grand prize.

The grand champion prize went to Andrew Starr and Jennifer Spielman of Black Star Chocolates out of Denver for their Saffron-Rose Creams -- designed chocolate shells filled with sweet saffron and rose water filling.

Special guests at the festival, which took place on Friday and Saturday, were "Cacao Goddess" Kari Bell, Denver County Fair's "X-Treme Chef" Andrew Novick, "Chocolate Therapist" Julie Pech and Brian Dowling as Willy Wonka. The festival was heavily attended both days, as people came, saw and ate some of the finest chocolate Colorado has to offer.

With any luck, the glut of chocolate-y indulgence will keep everyone sated until the upcoming Winter Park Chocolate Festival, slated for Saturday, June 23 at the Village at Winter Park Resort.

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Below are more photos from Saturday at the Chocolate Festival. And you can see still more photos here: Slide show: Colorado Chocolate Festival.

More photos are on the next page.

Slide show: Colorado Chocolate Festival More photos are on the next page. Slide show: Colorado Chocolate Festival More photos are on the next page. Slide show: Colorado Chocolate Festival More photos are on the next page. Slide show: Colorado Chocolate Festival More photos are on the next page. Slide show: Colorado Chocolate Festival

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