To deem it ‘the greatest show on earth’ might be hyperbolic, but there’s no doubt that The Chocolate Show is one of the annual highlights of the chocoholic’s calendar. Kicking off with an evening gala on 13 October, the event promises to pack London’s Olympia choc-full with cocoa-based bounty. Melting at the mere idea? Read on for 10 nuggets of insider info sure to get you all hot under the collar…
1. Watch a Chocolate Fashion Show
… Just don’t try and eat the outfits. In past editions, everything from bikinis to ballgowns have been paraded in daily shows at 5pm; Aneesh Popat even served up a sari. With the likes of The Fat Duck’s pastry chef Carmen Rueda-Hernandez and GBBO Crème de la Crème winner Mark Tilling masterminding outlandish outfits for this edition, let’s just hope the chocolate-enrobed models can keep their cool on the catwalk.
2. Try new International Chocolate Award-winners
The ICA’s World Final Ceremony occurs live on Friday evening. Once you know the names of the chocolate-making champions, make haste and head for the Winners’ Village, where you can try wares from both 2016 victors and those who triumphed in editions past. This is not just any chocolate; this is the globe’s finest…
3. Eat at Adam Rawson’s pop-up restaurant
Not for nothing was Adam voted last year’s YBFs Chef of the Year. Ex-Lucky Chip, Pachamama and White Rabbit, he’s carved out a niche as a culinary globetrotter; putting on pop-ups inspired by his world travels. For this show, cocoa is the muse for a menu which includes an aged Galician beef slider with Valrhona and pomegranate molasses barbecue sauce; crispy cauliflower, pecan mole and smoked yogurt; and the chef’s sensational, swavoury white chocolate porcini truffles.
4. Check out the Chocolate Dessert of the Year
You might not be in as privileged position as expert judges like The Telegraph’s Xanthe Clay, Rococo founder Chantal Coady and UK Pastry Team President Martin Chiffers who get to taste each and every entry, but there’s a few crumbs of comfort in the fact that you can be in the audience when the winner is announced in a live Friday final.
5. Help Rococo revive Roald Dahl
Coming to the show with chocolate-loving children in tow, or just a big kid at heart? Either way, you’ll have a whizzpopping good time taking part in Rococo’s Roald Dahl-inspired activities. Taking a cue from a recent bar range celebrating the author’s centenary, there’ll be all sorts occurring; from Twits Chocolate Beard Making and through to a Design your Own Chocolate Wrapper competition.
6. Watch & learn in The Chocolate Theatre
Star spot and learn a lot with a full programme of expert demonstrations. It’s not just celebrity chocolatiers like Paul a. Young taking to the stage – expect cakes from ‘The Boy Who Bakes’ Edd Kimber, perfect pastry from Sarah Barber of Cafe Royal, and Indian innovation from chef Vivek Singh.
7. Shop ’til you drop
With opportunities to try, buy, chat to, and learn from over 100 exhibitors from the UK, USA, France, Italy, Japan, Ecuador and Peru, expect to leave with light pockets, heavy bags, and a full heart. Whether it’s chocolate tools or truffles; brownies or bean-to-bar; cakes or cocktails, it’s safe to say you’ll be all-too happily splashing the cash.
8. Hone your palate in The Tasting Room
Learn to love chocolate even more with tutored tastings and talks on everything from the bean-to-bar process through to understanding origins and tricky terminology. Expert organisations in residence include the Academy of Chocolate, the International Chocolate Awards, and Cocoa Runners – the latter of which will be presenting some rather daring pairings.
9. Stay ahead of the cocoa curve
The Chocolate Show attracts cocoa creatives old and new. Joining established and esteemed companies will be a slew of brand new brands – don’t leave without acquainting yourself with up-and-coming artisans including Paxton Chocolates, Smith’s L’Art du Chocolat, J Cocoa, Land Chocolate, and Little Black Cat Gourmet.
10. Where you’re all choc’d out, these savouries’ll save you
You might not think there’s such a thing as too much chocolate, but believe me, there most certainly is. When the savoury cravings kick in, treat yourself to a sausage roll from Little Jack Horner’s – I’m willing to wager it’ll be the best example of the genre you’ll ever encounter.