5th Annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

Thirty purveyors of delectable chocolate treats will offer their wares for tasting on Sunday, January 22, 2012 from 1 – 4 p.m. as the UC Santa Cruz Women's Club presents the fifth annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival at the Cocoanut Grove, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

In its first four years, this family-friendly event raised more than $40,000 for scholarships for re-entry students returning to higher education after an extended absence.

In addition to chocolate tastings, chocolate gift items sure to please any palate will be on sale. Returning to the festival is the silent auction featuring many items (chocolate and non-chocolate themed) donated by community businesses and individuals. The jazz trio Hold Tight will entertain attendees with musical selections and the 5th annual Chocoholic of the Year will be awarded. A new addition to the festival activities will be a cupcake decorating area for young and old who wish to display their culinary artistic skills. Cabrillo College Culinary Arts will be demonstrating the chocolate making process- from beans to candy and other tasty treats. There is something for everyone at this truly unique and delicious event.

Participants include Ashby Confections, Cabrillo College Culinary Arts, Chocolate, the Restaurant, Chocolate Happens, Chocolate Visions, Cocoanut Grove Banquets, Coldstone Creamery Santa Cruz, Dove Chocolates, Goose’s Goodies, Little Sky Lavender, Lula’s Chocolates, Marini’s Candies, Mission Hill Creamery, Nut Kreations, Original Sin Desserts, Pacific Cookie Company, Shaman Organic Chocolates, Snake and Butterfly, Starz Cupcakes, Sudzzz, Sunridge Farms, TCHO, Theo, Toffee by the Sea, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market in Santa Cruz and Capitola, and Xocai Antioxidant Chocolate.

Advance tickets are on sale at Whole Foods Market in Santa Cruz and Capitola, at Bookshop Santa Cruz, the Bay Tree Bookstore at UC Santa Cruz, and at Norrie’s Gift Shop at the UCSC Arboretum.Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door and entitle the holder to 6 tastings. Attendees are urged to buy tickets early; the number sold will not exceed the number of available tastes.

Nominations for the Chocoholic of the Year are now open. To nominate your favorite chocolate lover, go to the Chocolate Festival web site at www.santacruzchocolatefestival.org and click the Nomination link on the right side.