If you cannot be convinced that a day without chocolate is a day not worth awakening to endure, be sure your calendar is choc-full of cocoa-themed goings-on galore. From workshops to fright nights, healing ceremonies to festivals, rest assured that this spring brings many dates where chocolate consumption is compulsory…
Meet Madécasse co-founder and CEO Brett Beach at Kensington’s Whole Foods Market, and you’ll not only eat your way through the chocolate company’s range, but also sip tipples chosen by three-times Beer Writer of the Year Ben McFarland. You’ll leave with a full tummy, new-found knowledge of Whole Planet Foundation, and a goody bag.
If the plush walls of Fortnum & Mason have ears, they’ll prick up at the delicious insights from industry insiders at the AoC’s expert-led evening. Along with taste trends and flavour forecasts, M&S’s Alexandra Emerson-White, chocolatier Shelly Preston, and Fortnum’s own Sarah Shattuck will share their carefully-curated chocolate collections.
This free fete in North London is hosted by Kensal Rise’s self-proclaimed ‘most delicious health and wellbeing club’. Workshops include those by ‘CHOC Chick’ Galia Orme, who will demonstrate raw, at-home chocolate-making, and you can try’n’buy from the likes of Rebel Kitchen, Chocca Roo and Superseeds.
15th March: Intimate Cacao Ceremony, London
Chocolate might mean a lot to you, but the hosts of this healing event believe raw cacao can truly transform your life as it transports your tastebuds. In the spirit of ancient Central and South American rituals, this intimate, shaman-led ceremony will tap into both your inner feelings and cacao’s potential as a powerful plant medicine.
Is your Easter incomplete without an old favourite from Mr. Young? This year, try something new: an evening ganache masterclass with the man himself. Along with rustling up your very own simnel-spiced truffles, Paul’s tantalising tutorial will help you hatch your very own chocolate Easter egg.
27-29th March: The Chocolate Festival, London
Where does one start? Just ahead of Easter, The Chocolate Festival lands in London, bringing with it a marketplace of merry makers; an expert-led ‘Taste Zone’; an indulgent cocoa spa; and a chocolate café. The event will even entice visitors to embark on a ‘health trail’, helping them explore and understand the world of free-from and raw chocolate.
28th March-15th April: Death by Chocolate at The London Dungeon, London
Victorian sweet shops are usually more tempting than terrifying; but then again they’re not usually at The Dungeon, or run by a proprietress with a penchant for poisoning customers. Try and keep Miss Edmunds sweet as she invites you to play chocolate roulette – or you’ll end up with a mouthful of mustard, chilli… or even strychnine.
4-5th April: Taste Chocolate festival, Bristol
In case all the Easter eggs weren’t enough, the holiday weekend heralds Bristol’s very own chocolate festival. Held on the Harbourside, the free, family-friendly fair features 40 stalls, chocolate demonstrations, local makers, and a cookery theatre. When a chocolate coma comes on, visit the Prosecco bar and shake it off to the live music.
Wish London was still laden with chocolate houses? You certainly will after Dr. Matthew Green’s fascinating oral tour of cocoa in the capital. Spanning the Georgian era, his tales are decadent, delicious and dangerous in equal measure. After charting social history through chocolate, he’ll offer you a cup to sup.
Led by resident sommelier Julia Oudill, this adults-only evening addresses the tasty-yet-tricky topic of pairing wine with chocolate. From fortified stickies to robust reds, there’s something to suit all palates – and, for that matter, flatter any kind of chocolate you could care to consume.
15th April: Chocolate Heaven, Tatton Park
Convert a cocoa craving into a cultural excursion with a family trip to Tatton Park, where the doors to the mansion kitchens will be thrown open to chocoholics keen to hoover up the history and science of cocoa along with the sweet Easter treats they’ll learn to make with their own fair hands.
Throughout May: The Big Chocolate Tea Party for The Sick Children’s Trust
Make time for tea in May by chomping chocolate at a gathering held in aid of The Sick Children’s Trust. Host your own at home or at work; keep it small or make a big splash – every £28 raised will provide overnight accommodation for an entire family of a child in hospital.
Hungry to help? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free Big Chocolate Tea Party planning pack, or visit sickchildrenstrust.org to download recipes for Paul A Young‘s Sweet sandwich ganache, Raymond Blanc’s Chocolate teaser soufflé, John Whaite’s Chocolate mousse, or competition winner Katerina Rangelova’s California prune & chocolate trifle.
- For inspiration for a beer-and-chocolate-themed Big Chocolate Tea Party, click here
- For unusual chocolate-and-cheese combinations for a Big Chocolate Tea Party, click here
- For a spiced chocolate cheesecake recipe to make for a Big Chocolate Tea Party, click here