Chocolate. That simple word evokes pleasant thoughts, desires, and cravings for most people. But there are individuals who are truly addicted to chocolate and my boyfriend Don Welch is definitely one of those people.
Don’t get me wrong, Don is definitely a man’s man, but I truly believe I have seen him actually go weak in the knees for chocolate. He can consume an entire bag of chocolate without blinking an eye. So for every special occasion (and some not so special), I’ve gifted him with chocolates. Walking earlier this year with Don to the Starbucks in Dr. Phillip’s Marketplace, I discovered Farris and Foster Chocolates. On that particular day, we headed out to get Don his coffee fix – but that’s another addiction story altogether.
I remarked, “Don, look…a chocolate store!” And Don commented that he had on a previous occasion witnessed a group of women carrying presents entering that store. I walked over and peered in through the front window and saw a child’s birthday party in progress along with signage advertising Chocolate Parties. I didn’t say anything at the time, but I already knew a Chocolate Party at Farris and Foster Chocolates would be in my future.
A Chocolate Party allows you and your friends to become chocolatiers. You get the opportunity to play with dark, milk, and white chocolate making your own creations including molded chocolates, truffles, chocolate cups, and chocolate-dipped items. Farris and Foster Chocolates offer different types of parties including Family Night, Girls’ Night Out, Date Night, Kids’ Birthday Parties, and even Corporate Team Building.
With Don’s birthday fast approaching, I broached the idea of having a chocolate party with his daughter Jocelyn Limerick who at the time was visiting sunny Florida from her winter-seized home in Mountain Home, Idaho.
I was searching for something new and different to do for his birthday…something that we could all enjoy and that would make him feel special. And I couldn’t imagine a better way to abate a chocolate addiction than to experience a Chocolate Party at Farris and Foster Chocolates. So Jocelyn and I visited the store to get the details and explore if it was something that we thought Don might be interested in.
The store clerk was friendly and gave us a flyer outlining the costs and provided us with a sample of the chocolate. What a great advertising ploy…one bite of the yummy chocolate and we both knew we wanted to schedule a party. However, we still needed to convince Don’s 18-year-old son Dane that it was a good idea. He was already heavily campaigning to either go bowling or paint-balling for his dad’s birthday.
I was pleasantly surprised when Dane got on board with the chocolate party idea without much convincing. Not surprisingly, Don’s children inherited the same chocolate addiction and Dane is no exception.
Don’s birthday arrived and we cooked a special meal at home and headed out to Farris and Foster Chocolates. We didn’t tell Don in advance where we were going and he was genuinely surprised when we pulled into the Dr. Phillip’s Marketplace and headed for the chocolate store.
Jon Foster Lanenga and his wife Teri are big stars of the Chocolate Party. Foster presents the official Dog and Pony Show demonstrating how to make the different types of chocolates, how the conveyor belt works, and how to become expert “drizzlers.” “You just fling it and don’t worry about making a mess.” Teri serves as a sort of Vanna White assisting during his introduction by holding up different items as well as encouraging and helping everyone throughout the party.
We all donned aprons, hats, and gloves, and dove right in. Our first chore had us creating fun names to write on both sides of our hats. Minutes later, we sported names, many with pirate overtones, that included: “Donny Two Swords” and “Bill Clinton” for Don; “Lieutenant Dan” and “Dane-o-matic” for Dane; “I Am The Shelbinator” for Shelbi Sellers (Dane’s girlfriend at the time), ” Captain Jocelyn” and “Arg…Matey” for Jocelyn; and “Mary Sugar Pistols” and “I’m With the Birthday Boy!!” for myself.
To make our chocolate creations even more appetizing, Farris and Foster Chocolates offer four towers packed with a wide variety of goodies to fill, mix in with, or decorate the chocolate. The offerings are extremely numerous and include: macadamias, pistachios, almonds, gummy worms, cherries, Rice Krispy squares, toffee, marshmallows, Twinkies, Oreos, Nutter Butters, pretzels, graham crackers, coconut, raspberries, blueberries, various sprinkles, cookie crumbs, assorted dried fruits, and caramels. There are also trays of truffle filling (heavy cream and chocolate mixed with other flavorings) including cinnamon, Tabasco (yes, Tabasco!), passion fruit, pumpkin, raspberry, and Amaretto. The towers are loaded to the brim and you are limited only by your imagination.
We all had a surprising amount of fun. Dane jumped right into creating chocolates and shocked us by quickly making up an entire tray of chocolate peanut butter cups. He then spent quite a bit of time intricately decorating each chocolate cup with different toppings and drizzles. Shelbi and Jocelyn selected cat molds (from the more than 1500 molds available) and mixed the white and milk chocolate together to create “chocolate calicos.” Don and I both made a wide variety of chocolates including our own personal versions of Almond Joys, Heath Bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Turtles. All ours lacked were the printed wrappers.
Fun jazz music filled the air and there were plenty of samples to eat throughout the evening. For Date Night, they dim the over head lights and turn on twinkle lights to add to the romance. You’re invited to bring in your own drinks and food and the party at the table next to ours sipped wine and even danced with each other throughout the evening.
At the end of the night, Foster weighs your chocolate and charges by the pound with a discount provided for each pound past the first one. Looking around the room, everyone was happy and smiling and appeared thrilled at walking out with handmade chocolate creations.
All told, we spent approximately an hour-and-a-half at the store, but the eating of our chocolates went on for days. Everyone admitted they had a fun time and we all bragged about our chocolate-making skills.
Farris and Foster Chocolates has two locations in Orlando. The larger, original store on New Broad Street in Baldwin Park, and the store we visited in the Dr. Phillip’s Marketplace off of Sand Lake Road. If you are looking for something new, different, fun, and yummy, make reservations for a Chocolate Party. If you’re not that adventurous, you can also stop by their stores and purchase pre-made chocolates. You won’t have as much fun, but your chocolate will certainly be just as delicious.
The two best things about our Farris and Foster Chocolate Party included: 1) The smile on Don’s face as we fed his chocolate addiction and made him feel special on his birthday; and 2) Foster informed us at the beginning of the party that our chocolate creations had absolutely no calories.