Cape May mixes chocolate tasting into its Victorian Weekend

21 Oct

Cape MayJohn Greberis came for the history. But he stayed for the chocolate.

Greberis toured old cottages and inns Saturday, even an 1876 carriage house from the Victorian era, but he also ate chocolate. Then he got to judge it to help decide Cape May’s “Chocolate Champion.” He voted for the fudgy mint cheesecake bars from the Puffin, a Colonial Revival seaside cottage.

“I like the combination of mint flavor with the chocolate. It was smoother, but they’re all good,” said Greberis, who traveled from Jackson Township, Ocean County, for Cape May’s Victorian Weekend.

Greberis and his wife, Jane, signed up for the Chocolate Championship Tour & Tasting held by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities. The tour took them to several bed-and-breakfasts around town and to the Emlen Physick Estate to taste chocolate raspberry cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries, a flourless chocolate torte and other chocolate-based mousses, fudge bars, and dessert fare.

It was a walking tour, so participants got to work off some of the chocolate before the next sinful delicacy. When it was over, the 200 participants each voted for the best one. The winner, to be announced Monday, will get bragging rights in a town known for its desserts.

Greberis enjoyed touring the Puffin, a private home when it was built in 1905 that was turned into a guest house in the 1940’s, while he ate the mint cheesecake bar.

Jane Greberis, an admitted “chocoholic,” who said she engineered the trip to Cape May just to eat chocolate, arrived at the last stop ready to vote for the Chocolate Decadence she tasted at the 1871 Mason Cottege on Columbia Street. Her vote changed when she tried Chef Rob Guldin’s flourless chocolate torte at the Physick Estate.

“Oh my god. All along I thought it was going to be Chocolate Decadence, and now this. It is really soft, and it has a nice chocolatey flavor. It’s amazingly good. I’m voting for the torte,” she said.

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This is the second year for the event, so popular that it was limited to 200 entrants and easily filled up, said Audry Conant, a Mid-Atlantic Center tour guide.

The Physick Esate was the last stop and the place to turn in ballots. Desserts were graded from 1 through 5. A 1 meant: “It’s OK, but I’m only eating it because it’s chocolate.” A 5 meant: “I’m in chocolate heaven.” Participants also were offered recipes.

“That’s a nice feature. The chocolate has been excellent, and I’m very happy to see they will share the recipes with us,” said Dorothy Buccialia, of Cape May Court House.

Mayor Ed Mahaney spoke recently about how the city needs to expand its shoulder seasons. The tourism industry had a strong summer with an increase in beach tags sold, but in recent years there seem to be fewer visitors after Labor Day than in the past.

Maybe chocolate is the answer. It drew Christine Dempster, of Trenton.

“I’m a chocolate freak. I drove two and a half hours, one way, for this. I came just for the chocolate,” Dempster said.

Article posted by Spencer Samaroo, Managing Director, Moo-Lolly-Bar
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Source and Photo: Press of Atlantic City

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