Chocolate meets creativity in carving contest

By LaVendrick Smith | Aug 15, 2012
Photo by: Sara Bruestle Five-year-old Sophia Tirone (right) sneaks a taste of fudge during the 2011 Fudge-A-Muk carving contest while partner Shara Derks works on their fudge snowman.

Chocolate is more than sweet – it’s a way to bond with family.

Chocolate lovers and their families are invited to compete in this year’s Fudge-A-Muk competition at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 1:45 p.m. at the 47th annual Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival.

“It’s the most family friendly event, I think, at the festival,” said Jan Straub, contest coordinator.

Contestants will receive a pound of fudge and up to 45 minutes to carve the chocolate into a work of art. It will be held on the festival’s main stage.

“It’s bigger and better than ever this year,” Straub said.

Straub, owner and chocolatier of Mukilteo Chocolate Co., provides the fudge for the contest. This year, she’s making a whopping 75 pounds of fudge.

Contestants will have a plastic knife and spoon, gloves, and a board to carve their fudge. Other carving tools are not allowed.

Entered sculptors will be divided into categories by age. All carvers of all skill levels are welcome – from the novice carver who has not even carved a turkey to the professional sculptor.

Professional sculptors are entered into the Professional Artists category to keep the competition fair.

“You don’t have to be a skillful artist,” Straub said. “Just do what your imagination tells you to do.”

There will be a first and second place winner in each category, as well as a People’s Choice winner, where festival-goers vote for their favorite carving.

Each entry will receive a free T-shirt. They also get to keep their sculpture.

“[Fudge-A-Muk] is truly one of my favorite things out of the whole year,” Straub said. “It’s probably one of the reasons I enjoy being on the Lighthouse Festival committee so much.

“I just find it to be an absolute great way to spend the day.”

Straub said she’s always amazed at the creations made in the contest. She’s seen everything from sea creatures to sports figures carved out of fudge.

“I love the creativity I see,” she said. “Every year I’m surprised by what people can make out of one solid block of delicious chocolate fudge.”

Vicki Derks, of Vicki Derks Photography, and her family are regularly involved with Fudge-A-Muk. She and her husband have judged the contest and her daughters have competed in it.

Derks said she enjoys seeing the community spirit at Fudge-A-Muk, as individuals and teams carve away.

“There’s always a ton of people that participate and it’s just fun seeing these mostly young kids – some are young-at-heart people too – who get out and do it,” she said. “It’s just a fun event.”

“It’s chocolate – what’s not to love?”

Register individually or as a group online at, or at Mukilteo Chocolate located at 407 Lincoln Ave. or by email Jan Straub at Day-of registration is also an option. There is no registration fee.

If you do sign up, Straub asks that you see it as a commitment to compete. There are only so many pounds of fudge available, and she’d rather not turn a chocolate artist away to later find out she has leftover fudge.

LaVendrick Smith is an intern for the Mukilteo Beacon.

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