Delysia Chocolatier moved operations east this past week for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. The festival is a celebration of southern food and libations from Texas to Washington, D.C. Our owner and chocolatier, Chef Nicole Patel, was named one of the Chef Talent, which opened up the doors to an extra long weekend of events, tastings and VIP dinners. Being a part of one of the largest food festivals in the country and introducing our unique artisanal chocolates to a new audience was a rewarding and inspiring experience.
Four days, hundreds of truffles, and dozens of events later, the Delysia Chocolatier crew is headed back to Texas. Keep reading for a look at the amazing festival experience and inventive treats that we created for this southern food extravaganza.
Thursday: Kicking the Festival Off With the AMX/Delta Dinner at Local Three
Although the festival officially started on Friday, May 29, Delysia Chocolatier was invited to provide dessert for 110 VIP attendees at Thursday night’s American Express Delta Platinum Card Holder Party. We served up the fifth and final course of the evening.
Guests got to indulge in our decadent gianduja. It is a rare Italian confection that layers hazelnut marzipan with dark chocolate on top of almond marzipan with milk and white chocolate. Each piece was topped with a bourbon chardonnay caramel sauce. Little did the guests know, Nicole actually created the sauce while experimenting in the kitchen of the host venue Local Three that evening.
Friday/Day 1: Let the Tastings Begin
Day 1 of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival was an all-day affair. At 11am things officially started with a champagne toast in the Lobby of Loews Atlanta Hotel. The highlight of the morning for Nicole was getting the chance to meet celebrity chef and author Ted Lee, one half of the famous Lee Brothers duo.
Delysia was among the 200+ vendors to showcase food and refreshments for 2,500 festival attendees during the Grand Tasting events. Tastings are some of our favorite events because it gives us the perfect opportunity to test our newest flavor combinations and introduce Delysia to a new market. On Friday we debuted our southern-inspired Fried Chicken and Honey Biscuit Truffle as well as the Cornbread Molasses Truffle. Both were received extremely well by the festival crowd.
Delysia Chocolatier was invited back to the American Express Delta Platinum Card Holder dinner to dish up dessert for a second night. We were so honored to work alongside top chefs from all over the south not once, but twice. Our culinary colleagues included:
Michael Gulotta from Mopho in New Orleans, LA
Steve McHugh from Cured in San Antonio, TX
Saturday/Day 2: Tasting Tents & Turning Insects Into Delicious Treats
The tasting tents were in full swing on the second day of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. We completely embraced the southern food experience by creating special chocolates for the occasion. One of our biggest hits of the day was the Fried Chicken and Honey Biscuit Truffle. It’s a traditional combination done in an unexpected way. The Red Punch Vodka Truffles were another crowd pleaser. We also brought a taste of Texas to Atlanta with our award-winning The Salt Lick (BBQ) Truffle, which is infused with Salt Lick’s proprietary rub.
During the second day at the Tasting Tents, Nicole ran into Matt Lee (from the Lee Brothers). Matt stopped Nicole to let her know how delicious he thought the Delysia chocolate samples were. Having such an accomplished chef of his stature compliment our chocolates was quite an honor for Nicole and the entire team at Delysia.
One of the most interesting experiences by far was getting to host a festival seminar at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. In the Deep South there’s no shortage of bugs, so why not turn them into a deliciously unique treat? Nicole created an entire menu of new chocolates with a surprise inside – bugs! Festival attendees learned how we combined roasted crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms with more traditional ingredients like molasses, five spice, and spicy peppers. Learning experiences are an essential component of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, and Delysia Chocolatier is proud to have contributed a little bit of our knowledge. Plus, the response to the bug-infused chocolate was astounding! Back at the tents, word had spread and numerous adventurous people were asking to taste our Cricket Bark, pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was.
Sunday/Day 3: Getting Things Off to a Sweet Start at the Connoisseur Lounge VIP Breakfast
The Connoisseur Experience is a special program that gives select attendees access to the Connoisseur Lounge where additional events take place. Delysia Chocolatier was lucky enough to be selected to participate in the Connoisseur Lounge VIP breakfast on Sunday. We joined a small group of award-winning chefs to serve a breakfast that guests won’t soon forget. For our part we created Bloody Mary truffles made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, smoked salted bourbon pecan truffles featuring Garrison Brothers bourbon, and mole grits with a shard of Mexican hot chocolate bark.
All attendees made the most of the last day of the festival out on the “tasting trails” despite the downpour of rain. Under the protection of our tent, countless guests stopped by for one last taste of our chocolates. On Sunday we decided to showcase the southern-style Peach Cobbler Truffle and the award-winning Cigar Truffle, since Father’s Day is right around the corner.
We’re so appreciative of the thousands of food lovers that took the time to taste our chocolates over the three days of the festival. The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival was a spectacular experience that allowed us to meet numerous amazing chefs, food journalists from national publications like Southern Living, and chocolate aficionados from all over the South. Hopefully everyone enjoyed getting an authentic taste of Texas as much as we enjoyed providing it.