At my age, I can’t afford to take the chance my theory is wrong; which is why I jumped at the chance to attend the Chocolate Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden with my sister, Lynda. Fairchild’s is, after all, Lynda’s stomping grounds in Coral Gables, Florida. We stomped on over with Jimmy in tow.
It’s heavenly, the decadent things you can do with the modest cacao bean worshipped by Colombian cultures – the Olmecs, the Mayas and the Aztecs. For English speaking cultures, it’s the cocoa bean, the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree, but either way you slice that bean, it’s still dark chocolate, with more antioxidant flavonoids than blueberries, red wine or green tea.
I knew it! How can something that tastes that good not be good for you too!
You could even take home your very own cacao tree or a chocolate “Sharry Baby” orchid.
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The Bottom Line on Fairchild’s 7th Annual International Chocolate Festival:
Verdict: This is the perfect setting for delving into all things chocolate; the perfect setting for having a family outing, for finding that one of a kind item (food, garden, home, personal) from an international market all in one spot.
How to Get There: From Miami, head south on SW 27th Avenue to S. Bayshore Drive. Take the 2nd right onto McFarlane Road, then left onto Main Highway. Turn left onto S. Douglas Road (SW 37th Avenue), followed by a slight right onto Ingraham Highway. Ingraham Highway becomes W. Ingraham Terrace. Look for SW 42nd Avenue. Turn left, enter the roundabout and take the 2nd exit onto Old Cutler Road. Entrance to the garden will be on the left.
Insider Information: Arrive early if you want to avoid the crowds! As we were leaving just after noon, the line to get in was backed up both ways on Old Cutler Road for at least a half mile. If you work to save the planet by walking, biking or taking the bus to Fairchild, the cost of an adult admission is reduced by $5, child’s admission by $2; not to mention parking is no longer an issue. Members, of course, get in free. Otherwise admission is $25 for adults ($18 for seniors 65 and over), $12 for children 6-17; children under 5 are free. Don’t worry, if you miss this festival, there’ll be another. Fairchild and festival go hand in hand; there’s the Orchid Festival, the Mango Festival, the Bird Festival and the Edible Garden Festival to mention just a few. Check their website for dates and times of upcoming events if you’re in the area. They certainly know how to show their guests a good time.
Nearby Food: It’s all right there at Fairchild’s, fresh and fabulous; even without a festival to spice things up, there’s the Glass House Café and the Lakeside Café on the premises.