To mark the end of National Chocolate Week I took a trip to the “world’s greatest chocolate show“, Salon du Chocolat, to learn more about the magical world of chocolate. Opening its doors in London for the first time, the show features an extensive range of chocolates to sample and purchase plus chocolate demonstrations, educational tasting and cooking classes – heaven for a chocoholic like me.
When attending previous food shows such as Taste of Christmas and Chocolate Unwrapped I had forgotten to sign up for any of the activities or demonstrations on offer. Determined not to make this mistake again, I headed straight to ‘Latelier des Chefs’ when I arrived to sign up for one of their truffle making classes. Unfortunately all the spaces had been snapped up within minutes of the show’s opening, so there was no truffle making for me *sad face*.
I made my way around the show, trying to follow some sort of organised route which was simply impossible due to the enormity of the space and the number of international exhibitors, both big and small. I sampled some great quality chocolate with favourites being from Kimberleys of Rangemore which are handmade in England and award-winning chocolates from Rococo. I noticed that there were certain flavours which kept appearing, namely ‘popping candy’ and ‘Tonka bean’. By no means are these flavours new, but I’ve never noticed their prominence in the range of chocolate currently on the market before. Are these flavours the new trends to replace the hugely popular ‘salted caramel’?
After about an hour I needed a break. I was starting to get the sugar shakes so thought it was best to grab a coffee and make my way to the culinary theatre to watch a demonstration from Hideka Kawa, Executive Pastry Chef at the Fat Duck. I’ve always dreamed of going to the Fat Duck and one day when money allows I will! Although 15 minutes early, all the seats were taken and after all that chocolate I was in no fit state to stand so I went back to cover the rest of the show.
Beautiful macarons from On Macarons and one of the best mince pies from Prestat provided a much needed break from chocolate. I questioned whether it was too early for my first mince pie but I didn’t need much reassurance that it was never too early for a mince pie – one of my favourite festive treats!
Alongside trying and buying chocolate, there were lots to look at including an array of beautiful chocolate dresses which were showcased at the chocolate fashion show on the opening night. In addition, I saw beautiful chocolate wedding cakes from Fleur de Sel and chocolate sculptures from Desir du Chocolat and Choco Passion, with some more eye catching than others!
Determined not to miss another activity, I made sure I arrived at the tasting theatre half an hour before the tasting with Aneesh Popat, The Chocolatier. I fell in love with Aneesh’s weird and wonderful chocolates when I came across his baked-bean truffle at Southbank’s Chocolate Festival a couple of years back. Since then, I’ve returned to every London chocolate event to discover his latest flavours, this time including mince pie and a mind-blowing beetroot, carbenet sauvignon vinegar and hazel water ganache. Pure genius! I’ll be writing more about Aneesh in the next couple of months so look out for more details of his upcoming pop-up November shop and Christmas range.
Happily satisfied with chocolate, a little too much in fact, I headed home with a bag packed full of goodies from The Chocolatier, The House of Dorchester and Iain Burnett. I had a fantastic day at Salon du Chocolate and even made early progress on this year’s Christmas shopping, one to recommend to all!
Living life, loving cake,