Sweets and science bring tasty learning to Homewood Chocolate Fest

Do you know how to make White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Bark? 

Pastry chef Casey Thompson does, and she will show how it's done at the 16th annual Homewood Chocolate Fest on Saturday, Feb. 17.
 
  A Chocolate Fest patron 
  with a tray full of sample 
  treats prepared by Bake-Off 
  competitors.

 
Thompson is a chef at The Cottage on Dixie restaurant. She received second place honors at the 2016 Chocolate Fest Bake-Off competition. She has operated a home baking business and baked for the former Sweet Annie's in Flossmoor. 

She will demonstrate her bark recipe at noon and 1 p.m.

The festival will begin at 11 a.m. at the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Auditorium, 2010 Chestnut Road, and the Homewood Science Center, 18022 Dixie Highway.

The science center will host a PopUp Science session, “Sweet Shoppe Science & Math.” Visitors can choose from three flavorful and fun activities: a hot chocolate math facts game, an M&M balancing scale activity or a test of a variety of chocolate bars’ buoyancy in sink or swim experiments. 

The science center will also show the chocolate lover’s classic film, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” in the Michael Wexler Theater. 

The Homewood Community Relations Commission will host a free apron decorating activity for kids.

The main event in the auditorium will be the annual Chocolate Bake-Off Contest for amateur and professional bakers. The Bake-Off, hosted by the Community Relations Commission, is a spirited contest for bakers and confectioners to compete for recognition as “Home Sweet Homewood's Master Pastry Chef.”

A panel of judges selects three winners for both the amateur and professional baker categories. After the winners are decided, samples of each entry will be available to the public in exchange for a small donation. Proceeds raised from this year’s Bake-Off will benefit Homewood-Flossmoor High School Orchestra’s trip to Germany.

The public tasting begins at 12:30 p.m. and the winner is announced at 1:30 p.m.

While waiting for samples, patrons can visit a number of vendors, including Bakewell Bakery, Bob’s Belgian Hot Chocolate, The Cottage on Dixie, Elite Sweets, EmpanadUS, Fannie May, Mother Wilma’s Marshmallow Factory and., Tiddleywink Toffee.

The Homewood Business Association will be selling Around the World Chocolate Passports. For $2 each, the passport includes a raffle ticket and a number of coupons from participating HBA businesses. Patrons who take the passport to participating HBA businesses will receive a piece of chocolate.  It is a way to encourage people to come into our shops.  

“Homewood Chocolate Fest is an especially sweet treat in the middle of February,” said mayor Rich Hofeld. “We are pleased to collaborate with the Homewood Science Center and be able to expand our offerings... and our space. This is always the sweetest festival Homewood has to offer and it’s great to see the community come out to be together. And of course, sample chocolate.”

Admission is free to this event. For additional information visit www.HomeSweetHomewood.com or call 708-798-3000.

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