Make us your home page

Chocolate festival to offer sweet eats at Gaither High

Maria Colon and Jason Rosario of GoGo Penguin Shack will be among the vendors at the ‘Official’ Tampa Bay Chocolate Festival II on Jan. 28.

LENORA LAKE | Special to the Times

Maria Colon and Jason Rosario of GoGo Penguin Shack will be among the vendors at the ‘Official’ Tampa Bay Chocolate Festival II on Jan. 28.

Chocolate bacon, chocolate doughnuts, chocolate drinks, even chocolate ribs.

You'll find them — and more — at the "Official" Tampa Bay Chocolate Festival II on Jan. 28 at the event organized by Generation Entertainment. The festival features about 40 vendors in food trucks and booths selling various creations using chocolate.

"If you can put chocolate in it, we've got it," said Jeremy Gomez, who owns the event production company with his wife, Candy. "If you can think it up, it's there."

Karen and Gary Amundson, owners of the food truck business Crustacean Station, came up with a Chocolate Lobstah Roll for the festival. It features hot buttered lobster on a traditional roll with melted cheese and spinach leaves, then it's topped with a chocolate balsamic vinaigrette.

"We just researched different recipes using chocolate and took parts we liked," Karen Amundson said.

This is the second year for the festival, which was in the Centro Asturiano parking lot near Ybor City last year, and drew about 20,000 visitors.

"People tended to like the entrees — chocolate pizzas, chocolate chicken," Gomez said. "Everyone seemed to really like the chocolate ribs with the vendor selling 50 orders in 41 minutes."

GoGo Penguin Shack, owned by Maria Colon and Jason Rosario, will have chocolate shaved ice at the event. It will be the owners first time in the festival.

They offer 30 flavors of toppings and recommend mixing the chocolate flavoring with strawberry and/or banana flavorings.

Colon said they are participating "because I knew it was a big hit last year and we are bringing a new offering (the shaved ice) to it. The event was such a "big hit" last year, that Gomez admits that some attendees said they wish the vendors had brought more food and the lines were shorter.

This year's event is the same day as the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion in downtown Tampa. He said the school chose the date.

"I kind of look at it as a different demographic than Gasparilla," Gomez said. "While we have no alcohol at the event, there are bars and restaurants nearby for those who want to go afterwards and celebrate Gasparilla."

Admission to the festival is free with chocolate items mainly in the $7 to $9 range. Onsite parking is $5, which will benefit the Gaither Band Program for a trip to Carnegie Hall. Gaither also will have a beverage booth at the festival.

Contact Lenora Lake at [email protected]


Chocolate Festival

The "Official" Tampa Bay Chocolate Festival II is from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 28, at Gaither High School, 16200 N Dale Mabry Highway. Admission is free; parking is $5 benefiting the Gaither Band Program. For more information, visit

Chocolate festival to offer sweet eats at Gaither High 01/20/17 [Last modified: Friday, January 20, 2017 6:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Seasoned cast scores an extra-base hit for St. Petersburg Opera with 'Faust'


    TAMPA — Charles Gounod's Faust sets the table early. The world-weary philosopher immortalized in a dramatic poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is in his study, lamenting his state of affairs. He's willing to give away everything he has to be young again, even his soul.

    The St. Petersburg Opera Company begins its season with Faust, in a production seemingly aligned with the original intent of French composer Charles Gounod and librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. [St. Petersburg Opera Company]
  2. Blake High grad Taylor Trensch lands lead role in 'Dear Evan Hansen' on Broadway


    For those who saw Taylor Trensch grow up in Tampa, his rise from promising student to star is heartwarming and entirely predictable. In January, Trensch, 28, will be moving into the title role of Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, one of the hottest tickets in theater.

    Taylor Trensch, a 2007 Blake High graduate, will play the title role in Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen. Courtesy of Frank Trensch.
  3. A scene from "Epiphany."
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 22


    Clearwater Jazz Holiday: The Avett Brothers: The Avett Brothers, with their blend of folk, bluegrass and rock, lead the lineup. 1:30 p.m., Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. $16 per day, $45 reserved, $170 VIP. (727) 461-5200.

    AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 15:  (L-R)  Joe Kwon, Bob Crawford, Seth Avett, and Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers pose for a portrait at the "May It Last: A Portrait Of The Avett Brothers" Premiere - 2017 SXSW Conference and Festivals on March 15, 2017 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW)
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 21


    Conor Oberst: The Bright Eyes mastermind will be joined by opener, the Felice Brothers. 8 p.m., Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $30.50-$36. (727) 791-7400.

    Handout photo of Conor Oberst, performing Oct. 21 at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg. Credit: Grandstand Media