For a chocolate lover like me, having a Chocolate Fest in our downtown every May is a real treat! This past weekend, Long Grove hosted over 15,ooo fellow chocoholics for a three day celebration of the confection. It was possible to enjoy chocolate in many traditional and inventive ways such as chocolate beer, chocolate covered grapes, chocolate martinis…the list seemed endless. I personally sampled and gave a thumbs up to: chocolate wine, a stuffed poblano pepper with chocolate mole sauce, and chocolate dipped strawberries from the Long Grove Confectionary. This gave me a chance to chat with my friend Craig Leva, owner of the confectionary for the past two years. His business is growing and has recently expanded to include featuring our namesake chocolates in area Jewel grocery stores. The weather really cooperated this year, and helped add to the turnout as did some new changes with the festival. With the help of a new special events firm, the downtown merchants arranged booths primarily up and down Robert Parker Coffin Road, with the main stage at the covered bridge. Popular bands were featured each night and took the celebration into the evening hours, attracting additional attendees. This year efforts were made to work with our favorite local restaurants to offer their specialties in booths as well. And it looks as if the new ideas had a positive effect overall. We will have to wait another year for the next appearance of the Chocolate Fest–thankfully that gives us all plenty of time to work off the excess calories!