Chocolate Expo at Morton Arboretum

February 4, 2010 9:43:29 AM PST
Who can turn down chocolate?(Release)That's the idea behind this weekend's "Celebrating Chocolate Expo" at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. The two-day festival offers a chance to taste sweet treats and to sample chocolate-infused and chocolate-themed products. And since the expo is at the Arboretum, naturally it pays homage to the source of chocolate, the cacao trees.

"Who would have thought the dried seeds of cacao trees would have such a deliciously complex flavor?" says Marilyn Baysek, Arboretum Special Events Manager. "I find it so fitting that the cacao's botanical name, Theobroma cacao, means 'food of the gods.'"

The Chocolate Expo this Saturday and Sunday kicks off a month-long chocolate celebration at Morton Arboretum, . Here are some highlights:

  • Step outside of the ordinary and sample some unexpected offerings! "Celebrating Chocolate: Chocolate Expo" is a gateway to a chocolate paradise. Where else can you find so many delectable delights all in one place - including chocolate balsamic vinegar from The Olive Tap in Downers Grove, or old fashioned tins of Toffee-ettes and Almond Royal from See's Candies? This expo takes place on Saturday February 6 and Sunday, February 7 from 10 am to 4 pm; it features over a dozen vendors from across the Chicago area. The expo is free with Arboretum admission.
  • Pamper yourself with chocolate! The Arboretum Store will carry chocolate-infused bath salts, soaps and moisturizers; plus sipping chocolate, recipe collections for making chocolate delights, chocolate-scented candles, chocolate treat towel sets, heart-shaped topiaries and more! Come see how the cacao trees provide a bevy of gifts for you or your loved ones.
  • While Italians in the 17th and 18th centuries experimented with chocolate as a flavoring in everything from soup to polenta, Arboretum chefs will incorporate a touch of chocolate in their "Valentine's Day Dinner" and "Valentine's Day Brunch."
    A fine dinner is the perfect way to spend Valentine's eve, February 13, with the one you love! Surrounded by music and scenes of nature, enjoy an exquisite meal with touches of chocolate in each course. Two seatings are available: 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Prices start at $30 per person (discounts for Arboretum members). For a more family-friendly outing on Valentine's Day, February 14, a brunch will feature a wide variety of foods with chocolate accents, along with champagne and live music. The brunch has three seatings: 9:30 a.m., noon, and 2:30 p.m. Prices range from $30-42 with discounts for members.
  • Aztec emperor Montezuma consumed 50 golden goblets of hot chocolate, flavored with chili peppers, every day. In many cultures cocoa seeds were used as currency (hence our modern day term: bean counter). Interesting facts about chocolate and the cacao tree will be on display at the "Celebrating Chocolate: Chocolate Exhibit" daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Visitor Center.
  • Kids can get in on the fun too! In the Children's Garden they can run from Rock Candy Ridge, scoot from Tootsie Pop Tree Top or skip through Berry Scary Woods to the top of Marshmallow Mountain in the "Candy Garden." Follow the lollipop clues in this large-scale version of your favorite board game. This drop-in activity is all month long from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting.

    Some events require advance reservation or additional costs. Please check The Morton Arboretum website at or call 630-968-0074 for more information.

    The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned leader in tree science and education, working to save and plant trees. The 1,700-acre outdoor museum features magnificent collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission - the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. Central Time until sunset. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February.


    Celebrate Chocolate at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, during February. Events include the Chocolate Expo on February 6 and 7 which includes samplings of chocolate. During the entire month, various chocolate-infused or themed products are available as well. Among the products for sample and/or sale:

  • Katherine Anne Confections, Chicago. Truffles: $19.
  • Julia Baker Confections, Scottsdale, AZ. Truffles: $42.
  • Sees Candies, (nationwide). Various products: Truffles or Assorted Chocolates: $9.20; Toffee-ettes: $16.10.
  • Caffe D'Amore, Monrovia, CA. Sipping chocolate: $1.50/packet.
  • The Olive Tap, Downers Grove. Chocolate balsamic vinegar: $15.95.
  • Chocolate Flower Farm of Langley, WA.
    • Pink Himalayan Bath Salts: $19
    • Chocolate Suds bath and shower gel: $9
    • Pot au Chocolat moisturizing cream: $14
    • Essence of Chocolate candles: range from $12-$17
    • Edible Chocolate Garden seed packets $24
  • Design Imports, Seattle, WA. Decorative "cake," "sundae" and "jellyroll" towels: $8.

    10 AM TO 4 PM