Lillie Belle Farms’ Handmade Chocolates of Central Point, OR, and Standing Stone Brewing Company of Ashland, OR, will tickle the palates of guests who have laughed their way through Class IIl rapids on this iconic river.
This 40-mile Rogue River adventure in southern Oregon includes three days of Class III whitewater rafting through scenic forests, meadows, and narrow gorges, two nights of comfortable camping on large sandy beaches, and gourmet wilderness cuisine including hand-crafted chocolate, and artisan goat cheese paired with craft-brewed lagers and ales. The river winds through the storied Siskiyou Mountains, explored for centuries by Indians, trappers and gold prospectors. This trip encompasses one of the most beautiful pine-forested canyons in North America, and in 1968 the Rogue became one of the first rivers to earn national “Wild & Scenic” wilderness designation.
The per person rate for O.A.R.S.’ June 16-18 Rogue River Beer & Chocolate Tasting Adventure http://www.oars.com/oregon-rafting-hiking-vacations/rogueriverrafting.html is $989 inclusive of two nights of comfortable catered camping, all river equipment, dry bags for gear, meals from lunch on day one through lunch on day three, craft beer and cheese tasting, all-you-can-eat chocolates and chef-prepared gourmet dinners.
Chocolatier Jeff Shepherd
The truffle wizard is Jeff Shepherd who encases his bubbling cayenne caramel mixture into signature organic dark chocolate and rolls out his smoky blue cheese truffle in chopped toasted almonds. Spending upwards of 15 hours a day in his factory kitchen and retail store, and even more on summer weekends gathering organic fruit from his harvest, this unique chocolate artisan, who began his career selling four flavors of hand-dipped truffles out of his Jeep trunk at Oregon Farmers’ markets, now creates more than 100 exclusive flavors of chocolates and truffles, caramels and bars.
His accolades include: Winner of the 2013 and 2012 Good Food Awards in San Francisco, being declared one of America’s Top 10 Chocolatiers in 2009, winning the 2008 Grand Prize Scovie Award for fiery cayenne caramels, voted “Best Caramels in the West” by Sunset Magazine, with an esteemed spot as Oprah’s “Must Have Christmas Gifts.”
Craft Brew Master Larry Chase
Larry is an award-winning brew master of Standing Stone Brewing Company whose forte is discovering new flavors from local and regional ingredients for specialty and seasonal beers. Their latest is Chocolate Ale featuring Criollo variety cacao bean sourced by none other than LillieBelle Farms.
“Whether beer is served with a chocolate dessert or the chocolate is brewed right into the beer, the two play incredibly well together,” notes Steve Markle, O.A.R.S. spokesperson. He added that the truffle chef may be up for demonstrating how to make fresh chocolate from roasted cocoa beans using a metate, a traditional stone grinding slab for making fresh Mexican-style drinking chocolate.
Other craft beer adventures with O.A.R.S. this season are May 14 for two days on the Tuolumne River, CA, with Sierra Nevada Brewing Company & July 4 for three days with 21st Amendment Brewery; June 29 for four days on the Rogue River with Southern Oregon Brewing Company; July 14 for four days on Idaho’s Lower Salmon River with Big Sky Brewing Company; and August 15 for five days on the Lower Salmon with Grand Teton Brewing Company.