Easter is here again, which can only mean one thing… chocolate!
Last weekend, two separate chocolate festivals took place, one up in Ramsbottom, and another here in London. From what I hear, both festivals had record numbers of visitors, which is great for the industry and all of us who love real chocolate.
We visited Yael Rose’s festival in London, and shot some video to give you a flavour of what goes on.
Yael managed to get six of the country’s top chocolatiers and a myriad of smaller producers in the same place at the same time, which I don’t think anyone has managed before.
Stalls were packed with a good mix of familiar faces and people we hadn’t hear of before. The baked bean chocolates (below) by Aneesh “The Chocolatier” Popat proved to be particularly controversial!
They weren’t my cup of tea, but I love the fact that people are willing to experiment with weird and wacky flavours.
On Saturday, I attended Paul A. Young’s demonstration, where experimentation was the theme. Paul demonstrated making two of his more unusual chocolates, a roquefort ganache, and a cigar leaf caramel. Every chocolate demonstration should start with frying tobacco leaves!
The main message of Paul’s talk was that everyone should have a go at making chocolates, and never to be afraid of experimenting with flavours. “Use whatever you have in the cupboard”, as Paul says. And if it doesn’t work, just give it to your friends and try something new!
Of course Easter was the main theme for most of the chocolatiers exhibiting at The Chocolate Festival, but this year Jubilee-themed chocolate was in evidence as well. Bill McCarrick of Sir Hans Sloane told us about his patriotic line-up when we caught up with him.
I love Yael’s Chocolate Festivals, and she’s growing them every year, expanding to more and more cities and spreading the word about real chocolate. If you’re in Bristol area over the Easter weekend, the festival continues there, spreading the word – and the chocolate.