NORWALK, Conn. — The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk offered up a sweet deal last weekend as it hosted the annual Chocolate Expo, where 40 vendors served up tasty treats to thousands of visitors.
Every corner of the aquarium was packed to the gills as visitors searched out their chocolate fix — trying out samples and making purchases — all under the watchful eyes of the fish, sharks and seals.
Everything imaginable chocolate-inspired was dished up — chocolate-covered pretzels and chocolate-dipped waffles, strawberries, rice Krispie treats, and various other fruits. A chocolate fountain was on full display at the entrance — towering over 3 feet high.
"There was so much chocolate, I just couldn't believe it!" said 7-year-old Maggie Thomas. "I begged my mom to buy me chocolate-covered strawberries!"
"All this delicious chocolate and my mouth won't stop watering!" said Cassie Jones.
"Willy Wonka's" original Mike Teevee, actor Paris Themmen, was on hand with his golden ticket and movie pictures autographed for purchase.
"I have never been to a Chocolate Expo before and never imagined being at one, either. It really seems like a great turnout," Themmen said.
Every corner of the aquarium was filled with treats — some going even beyond the chocolate theme. At one vendor there was even lobster mac 'n cheese, and others with cannolis, fresh pies and much more.
In addition to the food, celebrity chefs Barret Beyer of Fox TV's "Hell's Kitchen;" Tony Albanese, pastry designer and former assistant to Buddy Valastro of "Cake Boss;" Larry Rosenberg, cookbook author, owner of Bacon Bites, and soon-to-be-seen on Food Network; and famed mentalist The Amazing Kreskin took part of the stage in the iMax Theater.
The sweetest part of the whole deal was the price — which was included in the regular admission to the aquarium, which offered up all the usual exhibits.