Foodies unite on summer solstice for Fort Collins Foodie Walk

Elena Waldman

Jars of chocolate sitting on a wooden table.
Nuance owner Toby Gadd explains the process of chocolate making, with each jar representing a stage in the process. Foodie Walk participants are encouraged to listen to the presentation for a free sample of Nuance’s own dark chocolate. (Elena Waldman | Collegian)

Despite the rainy weather, the Fort Collins Foodie Walk returned on the summer solstice to bring together fellow foodies in Fort Collins. The monthly event, occurring on the third Friday of every month, encourages restaurants in downtown Fort Collins to share the love — but more importantly, the snacks. Featuring Fort Collins favorites such as Nuance Chocolate, Kilwin’s, The Cupboard, Golden Poppy Herbal Apothecary and many more, dozens of people gathered together to experience free samples and converse with local business owners and other foodies.

Owner of Nuance Chocolate Toby Gadd has been participating in the Foodie Walk since its conception five years ago and has made the experience both interactive and entertaining for the chocolate lovers of Fort Collins. Gadd offers an in-depth presentation of how the chocolate at Nuance is made, allowing customers to observe and smell each stage of the process.

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“It’s called our ‘show and smell,’” Gadd said. “We walk people through the different stages of making chocolate, from fermentation, to roasting, to first-stage grind, through the melanging stage, all the way through the tempering.”

After explaining the chocolate-making process, customers are offered a free sample of chocolate to satisfy their sweet tooth. Through providing samples and a look into the hands-on approach to chocolate making, Nuance stands out from other chocolate restaurants. 

“Nuance is a little different from most chocolate shops,” Gadd said. “We’re one of about only 40 companies in the country that actually makes chocolate. … By comparison, there are thousands of conventional chocolate shops, (but) they don’t actually make the chocolate.”

The Foodie Walk will return to Fort Collins on the third Friday of every month. 

The Foodie Walk was started nearly five years ago by Happy Lucky’s Tea House owners George and Kari Grossman with the hopes of bringing the community together and getting to know the unique cuisine Fort Collins has to offer. Happy Lucky’s continually participates in the walk, offering a few of their monthly favorite teas for customers to sip on. Employee Olivia Marks said that the Foodie Walk is a perfect opportunity for people to explore their taste buds and step out of their comfort zone.

“It’s definitely a nice way to get people in the door,” Marks said. “A lot of people who say that they hate tea will come in and try them and (say), ‘These are actually delicious!’”

Among the 13 restaurants that partake in the Foodie Walk, each has their own special take on connecting with the community. It also allows businesses to connect with each other and generate more traffic in their establishment.

“All the businesses are connected,” said Annie Koppes, a Kilwin’s employee. “I love the people who come in here too. Nine times out of 10, people will stick around and get ice cream.”

Whether or not exploring new cuisine is your thing, the Foodie Walk is a great way to support local businesses and get some free samples in the process — and as we all know, college students are never ones to turn down free food.

Elena Waldman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @WaldmanElena.