The Coast News Group
Festivalgoers can stroll along Escondido’s charming downtown historic district enjoying chocolate paired with local wines, craft beers and Champagne Feb. 11. Courtesy photo
Arts Community Escondido Escondido Featured

Escondido Chocolate Festival is a sweet excursion

ESCONDIDO — It has been traded as currency, considered an aphrodisiac, believed to have mystical properties, and used in sacred ceremonies. Our fascination with the cocoa bean goes back centuries. What’s not to love — chocolate is delicious, romantic and good for you!  For lovers of chocolate, your passion has its own event.

The Escondido Chocolate Festival offers a fun, unique way to indulge your sweet tooth and create a one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day gift.  Bring your sweetheart or friends to the Escondido Chocolate Festival “A Tasting Affair” Feb. 11 from 1 to 5 p.m. Chocolate is also a mild mood enhancer.

“It’s kind of like a chocolate crawl,” said Alex MacLachlan, the festival’s co-organizer and president of the Escondido Downtown Business Assocation.

Festivalgoers can stroll tasting locations along Escondido’s charming downtown historic district, enjoying chocolate paired with local wines, craft beers and Champagne. Fun event activities include romantic horse-drawn carriage rides and free dance lessons from Arthur Murray Dance Studio.

More than 20 local businesses are participating including, Bellamy’s, Vinz, Kettle Coffee & Tea and Esco Gelato, to name a few.

Tastings will feature local chocolatiers and breweries. Chocolates from Chuao, Evan Confections, Sweet Petite and Santa Barbara Chocolate and beers from Stone Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewing Company, Offbeat Brewing Company and Port Brewing Company will be served.

Kate Carpenter’s warm smile and friendly disposition match the name of her cafe located in historic Downtown Escondido. Carpenter and her husband own Sunny Side Kitchen, one of the family-owned businesses participating in the festival.

Carpenter will be serving white chocolate and raspberry cold-brew coffee and an assortment of her popular homemade cookies at the event.

“Escondido has a lot of hidden treasures,” said Carpenter.

Never heard of Sunny Side Kitchen?

The cafe recently made Yelp’s 2017 list of the “top 100 places to eat in the U.S.”

The festival is also a fun way to try some new local flavors through Sip, Wine and Beer — a newcomer to the Grand Avenue scene.

Proceeds from the festival support the small businesses located in Escondido’s historic downtown shopping district.  Carpenter enjoys being part of the unique area, with its restaurants, cafes, bakeries, drinking establishments, art galleries, and shops.

“It’s a really close knit community. We all support each other,” Carpenter said.

The festival coincides with the 2nd Saturday, Escondido Art Walk, where so many of the downtown galleries will be open and will feature art, workshops, exhibit openings, live music and refreshments.

Discounted tickets to the Escondido Chocolate Festival are just $35 if purchased by 5 p.m., Feb. 10. Tickets to the Escondido Chocolate Festival are available at (760) 877-8582 or online at