A Chocolate and Wine Lover's Delight

Hundreds attend a 'Sweet and Aromatic Event'

Michael CostaOctober 18, 2012 

Whether you are a chocolate lover, beer or wine connoisseur, arts and craft buff, or just taking the family to enjoy a quality day of fun and food, then the 20th Annual Oakhurst Fall Festival held at the Community Park was the place to be. Friday's scattered showers did not scare off the hundreds of people who swarmed the park grounds this last weekend and enjoyed a variety of Artisan chocolates by local businesses such as Heavenly Mountain Sweets by Lian Rausch, Lavender Truffles by Sandy Schaefer, Yosemite Fudge by Vanessa Cornett Factory and The Monterey Chocolate Company from Monterey.

According to Chris Beckel, owner of Monterey Chocolate Company -- a vendor for the second year in a row -- says there's a reason why his chocolate stands out.

"The reason that our chocolate is so different from everyone else is because we use whole ingredients and no extracts," he said.

Beckel, who has won the 2012 Master Award for Best Chocolatier and Confectioner in America, has created a variety of flavors such as Tahitian, Cherry Merlot, Mayan the irresistible Mandarin Fire.

"These are chocolates unlike any you have ever tasted," he said.

Sandy Schaefer, proprietor of From My Garden, boasts about her Lavender Chocolate Truffles which she has been creating for the last two years with Oakhurst Chocolatier Lian Rausch. The sweet confection combines Schaefer's calming lavender and Rausch's award winning chocolate recipes into either a dark or white chocolate,.

The two day event, which was hosted by the Oakhurst Chamber of Commerce, wasn't just for those with a sweet tooth. With area wineries such as San Joaquin Wine Co., Quady Winery and Solitary Cellars, the afternoon was filled with a bouquet of wines and plenty of glasses for consumers to become educated about the variety of wines out in the market today.

Greg Bergersen, proprietor of Solitary Cellars located in Madera, produces such distinct wines as Sangiovese, Syrah and Code Three.

"Our mission is to provide our customers with a unique and memorable wine experience," Bergersen said. "We are dedicated to the art of wine making and the use of natural flavors, tannins and color. That is what makes our wines successful and distinctive from other California wines."

The tasting didn't stop with wine. One of the highlights of the event was the crafted local beers that were on hand to try by such companies as Full Circle Brewing Co., and Mammoth Brewing Company. Mammoth Brewing Company, who has won several awards including a World Beer Cup Gold and Bronze Award, featured such beers as the Epic Pale Ale and their award winning Real McCoy Amber.

And if it was arts and crafts, unique collectibles, Classic Corvettes or just some good family fun that attendees were looking for, the 20th Annual Oakhurst Fall Festival was definitely a fall festival filled with fun where everyone enjoyed themselves and could walk away satisfied.

"This was an awesome festival filled with energy," said Sherry Colgate, a volunteer at the festival. "The event was surrounded by tremendous food and wine. It is through the hard work and dedicated efforts by all those involved which helped make this years event one to remember."

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