Chile and Chocolate Festivals This Week in Salt Lake City

Alamexo is hosting a Chile Festival Nov. 17-19.
Alamexo is hosting a Chile Festival Nov. 17-19.

Two great festivals featuring chile and chocolate are taking place this week in downtown Salt Lake City.

The award-winning Alamexo restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City is hosting a Chile Festival from November 17 – 19. And a few blocks away, Caputo’s Market & Deli is hosting its 5th Annual Chocolate Festival on Nov. 17.

Alamexo’s chef/owner Matt Lake is passionate about chiles and their use in traditional Mexican cuisine. His November Chile Festival will feature dinner specials each evening from Thursday, Nov. 17 – Saturday, Nov. 19.

A high point of the festival is a  “Cooking with the Chiles of Mexico” class and lunch on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 11 a.m. Lake will discuss popular chiles used in traditional Mexican cuisine and their flavor profiles. He will demonstrate roasting and flavor-building techniques, and well as salsa-making. Lunch is served at noon.

Class price is $35 per person, not including tax or gratuity. Call the restaurant at 801-779-4747 to reserve a spot, as seating is limited. Lunch includes:

  • Guacamole with salsa molcajete
  • Tres chile enchiladas: Three enchiladas served Mexican flag style. One chicken verde, one queso Oaxaca with salsa rojo, one carne asada with pasilla.
  • Pumpkin flan with fresh whipped cream and chile spiked pumpkin seeds.

Chef/owner Matthew Lake was one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs for 1996, while he was at New Heights in Washington, D.C. He also created Mexican regional specialty cuisine at Rosa Mexicano in New York City, one of the city’s first and foremost upscale Mexican restaurants. He trained under Chef Mark Miller, of Coyote Café fame, at Red Sage; and developed menus and concept for Besito in Huntington, N.Y.

Caputo's 5th Annual Chocolate Festival in Nov. 17.
Caputo’s 5th Annual Chocolate Festival in Nov. 17.

The fifth annual Caputo’s Chocolate Festival takes place on Thursday, November 17th, beginning at 7 p.m., at the downtown Caputo’s Market & Deli (314 West 300 South, Salt Lake City).

Admission is $35, plus an additional $15 for optional alcohol beverage pairings. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling 801.531.8669 or visiting All proceeds will be donated to the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative.

During the festival, stellar Utah chefs will create chocolate dishes — both sweet and savory —from award-winning Amano Chocolate, made here in Utah. This year’s all-star culinary lineup includes Briar Handly & Alexa Norlin of HSL, Courtney McDowell of Pallet Bistro, Akane Nakamura of Naked Fish Japanese Bistro, Amber Billingsley of Amour Cafe, and Alicia Pacheco of Publik Kitchen.

Caputo's 5th Annual Chocolate Festival is Nov. 17.
Caputo’s 5th Annual Chocolate Festival is Nov. 17.

“Amano was part of the first wave of craft chocolate makers in the US. When they got started there were only about 14 other chocolate makers, including giants like Hersheys. Now there are hundreds,” says Caputo’s CEO Matt Caputo. “Amano’s chocolate making style is one of a kind. On the scale from loud, brash American to sophisticated European, Amano achieves what makes each style great, without sacrifice.”

About Amano Chocolate: Made right here in Utah, Amano Chocolate is America’s most highly awarded chocolate, with 100+ American and international accolades under its belt. Founder and chocolate maker Art Pollard is known for making single origin bars that show balance and sophistication, as well as inclusion bars that pair unique flavors to deliver unexpected results.

About Caputo’s Market & Deli: Caputo’s Market & Deli is Utah’s leading purveyor of regional Italian and Southern European foods, winner of numerous specialty food awards, and an advocate for bean-to-bar craft chocolate. With four locations across the Salt Lake Valley, Caputo’s has solidified its position as one of the nation’s best specialty markets, offering a vast array of unique products ranging from olive oil, vinegar, salumi, and bitters, to cave-aged cheese, craft chocolate, and much, much more.