Chocolate lovers flock to Cintas

By: Justin Worthing ~Staff Writer~

Chocolate lovers from all across the city visited Cintas Center on Oct. 19 for the fifth annual Cincinnati Chocolate Festival.

Attendees sampled chocolates, candies and wines from over 25 vendors, including Graeter’s, Kroger and smaller, local chocolate venues were in attendance.

The Isaac M. Wise Temple Sisterhood, a local Jewish Reform organization, created the festival as a way to raise awareness and funds for local causes.

“There wasn’t an event like it,” event organizer Leigh Michelsen said in an interview with ICRCTV.

“There are so many events that are similar to others, but when you can really put together something special, it can attract thousands of people,” Michelson said.

All proceeds from the event supported the Sisterhood, whose past philanthropic donations include the Over-The-Rhine Soup Kitchen, the Freestore Foodbank and the Interfaith Hospitality Network, among others. The event was also sponsored by Kroger and Bella Luna.

Those who attended received five tickets that they could use for samples from vendors, with the option to purchase more tickets if they were still interested in more samples.

Tickets could be purchased at Kroger for seven dollars or at the door for $10.

Vendors displayed a variety of sampling options, from chocolate bars to chocolate syrups. Chocolats Latour, for instance, featured a “Bubba Bar” containing bacon and sea salt, and Maverick Chocolate Company made chocolate syrup from cocoa beans in front of attendees. Wine and cupcakes were also available for purchase.

Besides sampling, the festival also featured vendor competitions in different chocolate categories. Judges rated the qualities of gelatos, cupcakes, cookies and candy bars, as well as the most creative use of chocolate and the best of show.

Attendees could also watch “celebrity chef demos” featuring cooking demonstrations by local chocolate chefs Lisa Cooper Holmes, Nathan Sivitz and LaDawn Spivery.

For families, the festival featured a kids zone with face painting and magicians, and many other children’s activities.

For more information on any of the vendors present at the Cincinnati Chocolate Festival, as well as information about next year’s event, visit