Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Do You Dream in Chocolate?
As a member of the Hotel Chocolat Tasting Club, I get regular newsletters concerning all things chocolatey. Just recently, I was told about the upcoming annual Chocolate Festival, which takes place in Bristol, Brighton, Oxford, and of course the buzzing capital on London.
The last Chocolate Festival I went to was in October 2012, and was at the time, called Chocolate Unwrapped. Back then I was lucky enough to get a promotional code that gave me half price off tickets for my family.
There were a number of talks, tastings, and demonstrations that I wanted to go to, so we left early to make sure we didn't miss anything. In the end this turned out to be impossible, as there were multiple events going on at the same time.
Real Chocolate Doughnuts
The first talk was called 'The Italian Way', led by Pralibel. They explained the two different types of ways they produce chocolate, while at the same time, giving us plenty of chocolate to test. The first method, is not to use any cocao butter, which means that the chocolate is not smooth and creamy, and does not melt in the mouth. It actually had a rather crumbly, chalky texture, which usually I don't like, but in this case, it really worked. My favourite that they gave us, however, was their gold giandjoa, which was so smooth it was unbelievable. Pure heaven, and probably the best chocolate of the entire day.
They gave us so many chocolates to try that by the end of the talk, I was already chocolated out. Mum and Dad both needed a drink after that, so went to Hotel Chocolat's pop-up Roast Conch cafe. At the time the menu was pretty limited, but now the cafe does all sorts of savoury and sweet meals with cacao.
I had a bottle of water with me, so I continued my journey by going to a tasting session with Seventy% that involved eating chocolate at different speeds; first really slowly, and then really fast, so as to contrast the experience. There was also a pyramid testing, where you compared flavours to decide which you preferred.
While at the event, I discovered one of my now favourite companies, Demarquette, which makes fine hand-painted artisan chocolate. Their caramel selection is gorgeous, but if you really want to indulge, their masterpiece truffles are to die for.
If you love good quality chocolate as much as me, then this year's Chocolate Festival is something you don't want to miss. The dates for London are the 11th-13th April at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Standard tickets are £5.75, but you can also get a Tasting ticket for £16.25, which includes a special tasting session and Brownie Trail, or a VIP ticket for £37.25, with all-day free drinks and a 'Chocolate for Life' bag.
New activities at this year's festival include a Cocoa Spa, Easter Zone for kids, and a Health Zone full of raw chocolate. There will also be the regular truffle making workshop and chocolate market, where you can find all the best artisan treats the UK has to offer.