Heather Murtagh/Daily Journal
Linda Ferrari-Vercelli of Glinda's Fudge & More in San Carlos cuts fudge in her shop Thursday. Ferrari-Vercelli's goods will be among the many selections at the 30th annual Chocolate Festival in Belmont this weekend.
It’s been three years since the annual Chocolate Fest in Belmont has featured fudge, but the wait is over.
This year, Linda Ferrari-Vercelli of Glinda’s Fudge & More in San Carlos will be joining in on the sugary event hosted by the Congregational Church of Belmont. Celebrating the 30th anniversary, the event started as a way to raise funds for both church programs and local nonprofits — a tradition that remains today. While some of the 20 chocolate vendors are veterans who have taken part from the start, others, like Ferrari-Vercelli, are new this year.
Ferrari-Vercelli has known about the event for a number of years but wasn’t able to participate in previous years. This year, she’ll be able to share some of her dark and milk chocolate offerings with festival goers.
"It’s more like a French style,” Ferrari-Vercelli said of her fudge.
The recipe took six months for Ferrari-Vercelli to perfect. She really wanted to get the consistency to be more creamy and smooth, which is now what’s offered. She makes the fudge to taste, which means Ferrari-Vercelli tastes fudge daily — not a bad gig. Two flavors will be available at the chocolate fest this year.
Ferrari-Vercelli is just one of the Bay Area chocolatiers offering mouthwatering samples Saturday.
The goal is to bring together a mix of different types of chocolate treats, explained Micki Carter, one of the events co-founders. For example, there’s one offering of fudge, cookie and brownie. It’s about giving people delicious options.
The annual tradition started 30 years ago when a group came together to start a fundraiser. At first, the idea of a beer festival was floated, but that didn’t seem to match the idea of a church event. One of the women had a shop that sold teddy bears and also designer chocolates. She suggested chocolate and the group got started, said Carter. There wasn’t another chocolate show at the time locally, she recalled.
Preston’s Candies of Burlingame was the first chocolate seller to enter the Chocolate Festival. A handful of the vendors — such as Kathy’s Kreative Kakes and Bud’s Ice Cream — have similarly continued to come back year after year, said Carter. Others have changed. This year will feature a variety of newbies as well.
Live music, champagne, gourmet coffee and prizes will accompany the chocolate tasting.
Proceeds from the Chocolate Fest will benefit Bay Area health and social services organizations, including the Samaritan House, Second Harvest Food Bank and Home and Hope, as well as church programs.
The Chocolate Fest will have two Saturday sessions, 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Congregational Church of Belmont, 751 Alameda de Las Pulgas in Belmont. Ticket prices are $20 to $25 for adults and $15 for children and seniors in the afternoon. For more information call 593-4547 or visit www.uccbelmont.org/events.htm.
Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.