Sacred cacao: Red Hook & the Chocolate Festival this Saturday

All throughout Red Hook’s compact, walkable downtown, chocolate-tastings, cooking demos and other special events will be taking place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 7. (photo by Valberg Lárusson)

All throughout Red Hook’s compact, walkable downtown, chocolate-tastings, cooking demos and other special events will be taking place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 7. (photo by Valberg Lárusson)

Seems like every town these days needs to have a signature specialty food festival. Saugerties has its garlic, Rosendale its pickles, Margaretville its cauliflower, Monroe its cheese. While tantalizing treats can be prepared from all of these foods, the thing that many of us crave most often, when you really get down to it – and especially when we’re feeling a little blue – is chocolate. Nothing gets the happy endorphins pumping quite so expeditiously.

The merchants of Red Hook, bless their hearts, have kindly conspired to gratify this recurrent desire by organizing an annual chocolate festival, which returns to the northern Dutchess County hamlet this Saturday. Presumably to evoke the popular Roald Dahl children’s book and subsequent movie versions featuring slightly mad chocolatier Willy Wonka and a plucky, lucky boy named Charlie, the event is officially dubbed “Red Hook & the Chocolate Festival 2015.”

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All throughout Red Hook’s compact, walkable downtown, chocolate-tastings, cooking demos and other special events will be taking place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 7. Local businesses will offer all sorts of chocolate-themed specials, and many of them will host live music indoors or out. Something called the Chocolate Olympics gets underway at 11 a.m. at the Red Hook Public Library, and the Elmendorph Inn hosts the History of Chocolate Factory and Chocolate Fun-Do from 1 to 3 p.m.

Route 9 will be cleared of traffic for the Chocolate Bomb Skateboard Race, taking off at 1 p.m., and the Chocolate Wars cook-off begins at 2 p.m. at the Lyceum Theater. If you want to get seriously hands-on, check out the Little Pickles Sweet Shop’s Chocolate Menagerie workshop on the art of molding melted chocolate at 1:30 p.m.

Sounds like sweet, gooey fun all around. For more info, call (845) 758-0824, e-mail info@redhookchamber.org or visit www.facebook.com/redhookchocolatefest.

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