The perfect beach day, no traffic on the Howard Frankland, finding the perfect shirt to wear for Gasparilla- as Carrie Underwood once stated, “these are a few of my favorite things”- but none compare to a delicious piece of chocolate. Chocolate has the ability to make you feel all kinds of emotions. When you’re down- it lifts you up. When you’re up, it’s almost as if while eating it it’s saying “Good Job! Here’s a scrumptious morsel of sweetness to congratulate you on a kick ass day!” While we all know that eating too many sweets will rot your teeth (Okay Dr. Botis, I hear you) we couldn’t contain ourselves when we heard about the Festival Of Chocolate at MOSI over the weekend.

Being the social media fiends we are, we are always finding cool people, businesses and events to follow on Facebook and Twitter and it’s even better when we find out that they are having a giveaway/contest via social media for us to partake in. When Nicholas saw that @visittampabay was giving away 2 free tickets to the festival he decided to try his luck. Followers were required to answer how many cocoa beans are in a pod, and Nicholas being literally the luckiest person we know- won the tickets with his answer of about 20-40.  While Google may disagree depending on the website, we’ll take it! On Sunday Ryan and I headed to MOSI, picked up our tickets from will call and headed inside to get our chocolate on.

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Now I love chocolate as much as the next girl but dangggg was there a lot of treats up in this place. And it wasn’t even just on one floor; this thing spanned 3 floors. We checked out the schedule for Sunday (the event ran from Saturday Jan 18 – Monday Jan 20) and noticed their “Face the Cookie” competition was about to kick off. We made our way over to the stage and found 4 young boys attempting to slide Oreos from their foreheads to the mouths without dropping it. We hung out for a little while and had yet to see anyone complete their task but it was hilarious to watch them try. After watching everyone around us divulging into treats we decided it was best to do a preliminary walk through and determine our plan of attack.

We saw cookies, fudge, gelato, truffles, cake, and pretty much anything you can imagine- covered in chocolate. Chocolate covered pretzels, strawberries, marshmallows and even Twinkies. We headed upstairs to see what goodies were in store and saw a group huddled around a table so we went over to check things out. Here, people were attempting to break the Guiness World Record for sorting 25 pretzel M&M’s with chopsticks (Who thinks of these things? Let alone allows them the be a Guiness World Record…. but i digress) After watching a few contestants Ryan and I decided to give it a go. Notttt as easy as one would think. I finished in 1 minute, 42 seconds and Ryan in 1 minute, 32 seconds. The Guiness World Record: 16.05 seconds; that was the end of that. We cruised over to the auditorium and noticed a Chocolate Game Show was about to begin; team names: Chocolate Piece of Cake vs. The Chocoholics. Despite the later being seemingly inappropriate for the 2 man team of an 8 and 9-year-old, they appeared to be having a great time. After a few questions we decided to move on.

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Up on the 3rd floor we learned what our “Chocoscopes” were and what our personalities were when it comes to chocolate. It seemed a little ridiculous but Ryan’s was dead on. Next we went over towards the Chocolate Chill Lounge. This seemed like more our kind of area (meaning that this is where the wine was) Later in the day they would be holding a chocolate and wine pairing class but this was just a preview. Now what’s a little chocolate festival without some fashion?  (Ya.. we don’t know either) But we checked out the pieces that had taken part of the Cocoa Couture Fashion Show the day before. My favorite thing about this competition- all the pieces were shown on the “Yum Way”.

After we scoped out all the festival had to offer it was time to determine what treats would be coming home with us. A nice gentleman sold us his 5 “Chocolate Chip Coins” for $4- originally 1-$1 (wuddup discount!?) and we were ready to make our purchases. I still had my mind on those chocolate covered Twinkies and was pleased to see they hadn’t sold out, so I scooped one up over at the Tampa’s Chocolate Delight table. Next we headed to the Schakolad Chocolate Factory table. We were super excited to try this one out as their store is located right next to Yard of Ale here in South Tampa. We went for the 2 marshmallows for 1 coin option and each tried one dipped into their dark chocolate fountain. Delicious. With 2 coins left it was going to be a game time decision as to who got the chance to be devoured by Ryan. After a few laps it was a chocolate hazelnut biscotti that got the W.

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On the way out we were definitely feeling chocolate wasted and wished they had water stations to grab a drink to “sober up” before our drive home but our buzz eventually subsided. With Valentine’s day coming up this was a great chance to see all the different vendors from around the area (gentlemen: take note ;)…) We saw tons of people walking back to their cars with assortments of chocolate goodies in their hands and smiles on their faces. I mean, let’s be real here- how can you go to a Festival of Chocolate and not leave with a smile on your face?

Chocoholics Unite!- Allison

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