I often hear people say that they would love to have my job and they would even be glad to work for chocolate. I love my job and I definitely spend a fair amount of my pay check on chocolate but it is definitely not all delicious chocolate tasting and creative chocolate making. As with any job their is the nitty gritty and the day to day. For me the the yearly visit to the Atlanta Gift Market is high on the list of nitty gritty.
Atlanta is home to one of a few wholesale shopping markets in the country and the largest wholesale gift show in the country. This place has everything! Glittering showrooms boast the latest greatest trends in everything from housewares and gourmet foods to apparel and cheeky magnets. It also is home to some of our packaging suppliers and a great source of new ideas and inspiration.
I dread the AmericasMart. I like to spend lots of time out side enjoying this beautiful place I am so lucky to call home. At the mart in Atlanta you don’t even have to go outside to go from one building to the next. In fact we walked about three blocks from the parking garage to the hotel without even going outside, which I reluctantly admit was preferable to the blistering heat outside.
We stayed at The Hyatt Regency Hotel. It boasts that Spider man descended 22 stories from the ceiling one new years eve and the elevators were finished with molasses. What on earth molasses is used for I don’t know. I do know it tastes good with chocolate. Its a beautiful building and close to the mart which is nice when your trying to cover 20+ floors in three buildings in less than three days.
In everything I do I try to find inspiration and value; the mart is no different. So I enter with 5 pound guidebook in hand determined to make the most of it, get some serious work done and find something new and exciting to walk away from it with. A multitude of corridors were roamed seeking out the coolest new chocolate related products and most beautiful packaging offerings. Interspersed with visiting suppliers and placing some orders I got to watch Cat Cora (the only female Iron Chef) do a cooking demonstration, attend a social media seminar and taste some delicious (and not so delicious) cookies, crackers, candied nuts and the like.
The highlight of the mart was discovering Suzy Toronto. She is an artist/wordsmith that creates a fun and funky line of gift products themed around chocolate. “Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of chocolate” is her tag line and I wholeheartedly agree! It was fun to meet the artist that creates the products we will be selling and she is as fun as her art would lead you to believe.
All in all this years visit to the mart was a success. We got lost in the maze that is the mart a couple of times but came away with some new ideas and exciting new products. We also got to enjoy a little bit of Atlanta the highlight being when we visited the restaurant Two Urban Licks a must try on your next visit to Atlanta. We sat at “the chef’s table” a long bar that surrounded the open kitchen on three sides and gave us an unforgettable view of all the plates leaving the kitchen. A delicious meal was finished with a delightful bread pudding that left nothing to be desired… except maybe a chocolate course to follow it.