Today was Family Fun Day and we were off to… Dover Plains, NY in Dutchess County for the first annual Hot Chocolate Festival at Madava Farms’ Crown Maple Sugarhouse! And today was the perfect day for a hot chocolate festival. Snow on the ground and only about 7 degrees out… yep definitely hot chocolate weather!
My husband and I discovered Crown Maple at Madava Farms three years ago. It is such an awesome place to visit, and makes a great day trip for families. It is also very educational. Through a 60 minute tour, you get to learn the ins and outs of Crown Maple’s organic maple syrup production, ending with a fabulous tasting experience. My husband and I did the tour three years ago, and we are still talking about it to this day.
“Crown Maple sets the standard for maple in quality, purity and taste through singular, certified-organic maple products.
From bark to bottle, Crown Maple is sustainably made on 800 acres of pristine land at the Crown Maple Estate in Dutchess County, New York, and truly sets the standard of excellence in maple production and flavor.”
Crown Maple produces all sorts of different maple syrups from the usual: Amber, Dark, Very Dark, to infused unique creations such as: Bourbon Barrel Aged, Madagascar Vanilla, Cinnamon, and Applewood Smoked. All of which you can try right in the store or through a tour. Crown Maple also offers more than just organic maple syrup and maple syrup tours. They also offer a farm-to-table cafe and special events. That’s what we were there for today, Crown Maple’s very first Hot Chocolate Festival!
Now, what does hot chocolate have to do with maple syrup? Crown Maple actually produces their own hot chocolate made in small-batches featuring their Crown Maple sugar! It’s a perfect marriage of hot chocolate and Crown Maple’s amazing maple products. It is also gluten-free (although it is worth noting that if you are extremely sensitive, it is processed in a facility that processes wheat along with other allergens).
The Hot Chocolate Festival is taking place between today and tomorrow, Sunday, January 7 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Tickets are $5.00 each and include two hot chocolates. Additional hot chocolates can be purchased for $3.00 each. You can also choose to add alcohol to your hot chocolate for an additional fee. And while you are there you can also take part in the Maple Syrup tours which take place at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm. So you could definitely make an entire day out of it: have brunch, go on a tour and tasting, then end by taking part in the Hot Chocolate Festival.
My husband and I had never been to a Hot Chocolate Festival before, and it was so much fun! Once we checked in, we were given four tickets to use to purchase our hot chocolates. We then proceeded over to the hot chocolate table where all the options were clearly marked with how much each hot chocolate would cost you (1 ticket or 2 tickets if you chose to add alcohol). There were six hot chocolates to choose from, from the usual such as Peppermint to the unusual such as Banana! My husband and I decided that between the two of us, with our four tickets were could sample 4 out of the 6 hot chocolates offered, and that’s exactly what we did. The hot chocolate options included:
Crown Maple Signature Hot Chocolate – Made from Crown Maple’s signature maple hot chocolate. Comes topped with maple whipped cream, and maple pearls. A winter classic!
Spicy Hot Chocolate – Made from a spicy Aztec mix. This hot chocolate with a kick is topped with whipped cream, and a drizzle of chocolate hot sauce.
White Hot Chocolate – A twist on a classic. This white chocolate beverage is topped with whipped cream, marshmallows and white chocolate chips.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate – The flavor of winter. Made with peppermint mix, topped with whipped cream and crushed peppermint candies.
Strawberry Hot Chocolate – A unique offering. This strawberry infused hot chocolate comes topped with strawberry powder and whipped cream. A delightful treat!
Banana Hot Chocolate – A one of a kind experience. This banana infused hot chocolate comes with dried banana chips, and a smattering of whipped cream.
The hot chocolates we decided to try were: Strawberry, White Chocolate, Crown Maple Signature, and Banana. All were delicious!!! I loved trying hot chocolates that we couldn’t try anywhere else. My absolute favorite was the Strawberry Hot Chocolate with the strawberry powder on top. Sooooo good! My husband loved the Crown Maple Signature which had yummy maple pearls on top. Once our bellies were all warm from the hot chocolate, we decided to walk around Crown Maple’s store.
Two Unique Selections: Strawberry Hot Chocolate (L) and Banana Hot Chocolate (R)
We tried some of the infusion maple syrups that Crown Maple offers. All were delicious. Especially the Madagascar Vanilla and Cinnamon infused syrups. They literally tasted like french toast and I could only imagine how amazing they would taste on hot french toast! We decided to buy a bottle of Dark maple syrup and a small trial sized bottle of Very Dark. We had only recently ran out of Crown Maple syrup at home, so we definitely needed more.
I hope Crown Maple holds the Hot Chocolate Festival again next year because it was so much fun, and I can’t wait to see what unique hot chocolate creations they would come up with next!
After Crown Maple we headed off for lunch at Big W’s Roadside Bar-B-Q in Wingdale, NY. This was another place we had discovered three years ago, and it is so delicious! Their food is AMAZING, but for me one of the best things is they are very knowledgeable about the needs of individuals that have Celiacs. Their menu, except for a few things, is completely gluten-free and I love that I can safely eat here. My husband had a half chicken meal with cole slaw and I had a small brisket with cole slaw. It was amazing and so yummy! If you are in the area, definitely stop at Big W’s for an amazing gluten-free meal!
And after all the hot chocolate, maple syrup tasting, and BBQ we were stuffed and it was time to come home. It was an AMAZING family fun day full of adventure and lots of good food!
For More Information On Crown Maple at Madava Farms:
- 47 McCourt Road, Dover Plains, NY 12522
For More Information On Big W’s Roadside Bar-B-Q:
- 1475 Route 22, Wingdale, NY 12594