It's always a bit of a surprise, and yet not a surprise at all, to round an aisle at the grocery store and see a sea of sweets all bagged in their orange-and-black best.
Halloween candies may be handed out on Oct. 31 each year, but they line the shelves weeks, and sometimes months, in advance, reminding us that the Season o' Chocolate has well and truly arrived.
But you don't need to wait for the last day in October to open a bag -- and, let's be honest, many bags are ripped into well in advance of Halloween night -- to get your chocolate on, and to get it on in quite the gourmet, top-tier way: The LA Chocolate Salon returns to Pasadena on the last Saturday in September.
So, yes, technically you're into the Halloween season, with fall starting and all, so there shall be no guilt. (Guilt's kind of a drag, anyway). And it isn't often that dozen of experts in the field of chocolate-making show up in one spot, to demo and chat and hand out their squares and hunks and chunks and bits to a public made for cocoa-deep flavors.
Marti Chocolatt, Droga Chocolates, Amella Caramels, Truffles N Toffee, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, and David Bacco Chocolatier will be some of the candy wizards at the 2015 happening. Yes, there shall be tasting. Yes, there shall be things beyond chocolate, like toffee and caramel (which, truly, are like chocolate's BFFs, or at least some very close cousins).
Trust also that it won't be merely chocolate squares you'll be noshing upon, though we hate to say "merely" about anything to do with chocolate, because even simple squares are sublime. The chocolatiers who call upon the annual salon show with goodies filled with lavender and honey and sea salt and berries and a host of ingredients that further enhance chocolate's complex bite.
Tickets? They're twenty bucks for an adult.
Will a visit to the Pasadena Convention Center on Saturday, Sept. 26 keep those orange bags sealed, the ones sitting on your counter, the ones filled with miniature candy bars? That's difficult to predict.
If you're a chocolate buff, both a tony chance to snack upon upper-crust chocies and a furtive Halloween candy bar, eaten weeks before Oct. 31, can be equally as sweet.