What’s In Your Chocolate: Presentation for DC Chocolate Festival


I’m honored to hold a talk and tasting at the 6th annual DC Chocolate Festival, April 29, 2023!

[Update: event photos are at the bottom of this email! Slides are still in the middle; info in comments to slides!]

Preview of some of what we’ll sample at my tasting! Does this remind you of our #chocolateandcherryblossoms events back in the old chocolate tour days?

My topic:

What’s In Your Chocolate: Explaining Labels, Exploding Myths, Exploring History, Experiencing Flavor: Learn how to decipher chocolate bar labels while we taste our way through chocolate history to the cutting edge of craft chocolate, in this upbeat talk and tasting presented by chocolate expert Valerie Beck.

Click for my slides, which are mainly a resource; see the notes section of the slides for information and links pertaining to what will be mainly a spoken presentation with plenty of chocolate and a few theatrics! : )

📅 Mark your calendar: Saturday, April 29, 2023
⏰ Time: 10:30am – 5:30pm ET
📍 Location: La Maison Française, Embassy of France in the U.S., Washington, DC, 4101 Reservoir Rd NW 20007
🍫Hosted by: The Chocolate House — @dcchocolatefestival
🎟️ Get your tickets now at www.DCChocolateFestival.com
(Charming emoji-filled listing adapted from Glenn of @chocotastery)

Onward and upward!

Your friend in chocolate — and cherry blossoms,


With a detail of my favorite sculpture, the monumental Calder (Untitled, 1976), at the National Gallery in Washington, DC

Valerie Beck

Chocolate Uplift Founder 

Professor Valerie Beck Tutoring and Coaching

LinkedIn | Instagram


Chocolate and Cherry Blossoms

Chocolate and Cherry Blossoms

Washington, DC, is particularly sweet in spring, when cherry blossoms bloom, and chocolate innovation springs forth, as I re-discover every year on my springtime trip to our US capital.

snickers cake at the partisan
Housemade “snickers” cake at The Partisan

Cherry blossoms in Stanton Park
Cherry blossoms in Stanton Park

DC’s cherry blossom trees were originally a gift from Japan, facilitated by author and traveler Eliza Scidmore, who fell in love with the sweet blossoms in Japan and enlisted the wife of President Taft to help coordinate the trees with Japan in 1910 and 1912.

Today, the city blooms beautifully in spring not only at the “usual” sites such as the Tidal Basin with its spectacular views of the monuments, but also in special and strollable corners of the city such as Stanton Park, and restaurant-rich Dupont Circle.

Dupont Circle
Dupont Circle

Firehook Bakery, Dupont Circle
Firehook Bakery, Dupont Circle

As for chocolate, we chocolate lovers know it is a gift as well. Chocolate comes from cacao, which is the seed of the fruit of the cocoa tree. The Aztecs believed cacao was the fruit of the gods. At beloved Co Co Sala chocolate lounge and boutique, the chocolate is heavenly indeed.

Co Co Sala roasted peanut chocolate bar
Co Co Sala roasted peanut chocolate bar with chocolate pearls

White chocolate "Valrhona Blonde Perles" at Co Co Sala
White chocolate “Valrhona Blonde Perles” at Co Co Sala

Chocolate blends nature and art, and it’s perhaps that juxtaposition of natural forms and artistic vision that has drawn me to the Alexander Calder mobile at the National Gallery of Art in DC, ever since I first experienced it on a DC visit at age 8 and wanted to bring it home with me. The glorious 76-foot work wouldn’t quite fit on the airplane, and I’ve visited it on my trips to DC ever since.

Saying hello to my old friend, the Calder sculpture at the National Gallery
Saying hello to my old friend, the Calder at the National Gallery

Back to our regularly scheduled chocolate, it’s always a treat to see another longtime friend in DC, Jane Morris of J Chocolatier, who creates unique and flavorful artisan chocolate bars, such as my new favorite from her, the fig/walnut/pepper chocolate bar, which she sells from her adorable weekends-only perch atop a charming boutique on Barracks Row.

The fig/walnut/pepper bar by J Chocolatier
The fig/walnut/pepper bar by J Chocolatier

In addition to visiting old friends, I always love making new ones, and was thrilled by DC’s newest doughnut shop, District Doughnut, where the goods are pastry-inspired, fresh, light, not too sweet, and absolutely delicious and delightful.

Light-as-air doughnuts at District Doughnut
Light-as-air doughnuts at District Doughnut

With owner Greg of District Doughnut
With owner Greg Menna of District Doughnut

Here’s to sweet travel!

Your friend in chocolate


Valerie Beck

Chocolate Expert, Speaker, and Consultant

Visit www.valeriebeckchocolateuplift.com to book a speaking engagement or for more info.