The LA County Fair has been going on for the past few weeks here in Southern California. It is the largest county fair in the US, with nearly 1.5 million visiting the fairgrounds during its one month run. You’ll find all kinds of games, rides and attractions, as well as 22 different cooking contests where home chefs and bakers can put their skills up to the test for ribbons, prize money and – of course – bragging rights. This year, I was invited to be one of the judges for the Ghirardelli Chocolate Championships at the LA County Fair.
I was one of four judges and our job was to taste our way through each of 39 decadent chocolate desserts to try to pick out a winner. The contest required that competitors make a from-scratch dessert and use at least one Ghirardelli Chocolate product – such as cocoa powder or chocolate chips – in their recipe, though they were allowed to make any kind of chocolate dessert. We judged on four criteria: Appearance, Taste, Creativity and Ease of Preparation. The entries were all supposed to be accompanied by a product label and a typed recipe.