By: Alina Buzgar, News Editor
Every February there is a Chocolate affair downtown Glendale. Say no more! You had me at “chocolate”.
On January 31 – Superbowl Weekend! – a gleeful group of T-Birds joined thousands of people from all over the U.S. along with droves of Phoenix residents for a chocolate tasting bonanza. The “Chocolate Affair” happens every year in February and transforms the month of love into the month of chocolate. The festival features regional chocolate makers and many other vendors and it’s organized by the Glendale mayor’s office in collaboration with Cerreta Chocolate Factory in beautiful historic downtown Glendale.
More than 100,000 visitors take the factory tour during the festival. You can see a glimpse of it with this virtual factory tour. There was a lot of deliciousness to choose from and every stand competed for attention by letting the sweetest most aromatic smells engulf the surrounding areas. From chocolate pizza, chocolate footballs, caramelized apples and chocolatey popcorn, to more traditional treats like cake and pie in a jar or plain old ice-cream, everything looked and smelled delicious.
The main organizers of the festival, Cerreta’s, “is a family-owned chocolate factory in the heart of downtown Glendale in Arizona. We make custom gourmet chocolate that will rock your world,” says Candi Cerreta, Marketing Manager at the factory. Cerreta’s was founded 40 years ago, by Jim Cerreta, Sr. who learned candy making in his father-in-law’s factory in Ohio. Jim passed the trade to his entire family and today three of Jim’s sons are actively involved in every aspect of the candy business.
The history and the present of the factory makes for a fascinating story. “Joe oversees production of the cream centers, where he combines modern methods with old fashion candy making techniques. Jerry is the chocolate man. He covers the caramels and cream centers made by his brothers with the robust chocolate covering that makes Cerreta’s chocolate so distinctive. Even the wives get into the act. Joe’s wife Marisa gives daily tours to the public, and her enthusiasm is contagious! Marisa & Joe’s sons work in the factory in the summer. These two boys represent Cerreta’s fourth generation of candy makers,” adds Candi Cerreta.