Each July, more than 120,000 fans take over the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con International. That’s a lot of hungry collectors — so about six years ago, the Centerplate catering team on site concocted the idea of making themed chocolate bars for the event.
It’s a good example of how event planners can create a customized collectible for their attendees to remember their event.
Although the bars change every year, Executive Chef Daryl O’Donnell and Pastry Chef Matthew Haven felt compelled to create a special bar for 2019 to commemorate two birthdays: Comic-Con International celebrated its 50th anniversary July 18-21. This year the San Diego Convention Center, where Comic Con happens, is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
O’Donnell and Haven came up with the 50/30 Bar to commemorate the anniversaries. The treat features white chocolate, birthday cake crumbles, vanilla frosting, and rainbow sprinkles.
The three other bars for 2019 were:
- Battle Bar: Dark chocolate and raspberry crisps flavor this bar, which could take its inspiration from a number of shows, games, or movies.
- Dragon Smoke: It’s dragon-themed, so of course it has smoked dark chocolate and chipotle dust.
- Stranger S’mores: In a nod to the “Upside Down” in Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” this bar consists of milk chocolate, crispy waffles, and maple syrup marshmallows.
The bars are made in the Convention Center kitchen, where team members are “covered in chocolate” during the process, Haven said in a video showing how the bars are made (watch below). This year, they made almost 4,300 bars, more than the 2,800 that were made (and sold out) in 2018. The bars sold out by 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Centerplate Communications Director Paul Pettas told Convene.
According to Centerplate, the kitchen team used 813 pounds of Belgian chocolate and spent more than 60 hours making the bars.
The bars were sold at a booth on the con floor, at concession stands, and outside Ballroom 20. This year, four of the bars had a “golden ticket” inside that allowed the holder to claim a $100 Starbucks gift card.
Chocolate plus caffeine. Now that’s how you keep your attendees hepped up.