In light of recent events, it would be easy to forget the cultural and epicurean delights that make Paris an eternally magical destination. However, Le Salon du Chocolat serves as a reminder that this is the capital city of a country where people love to indulge in life’s simple pleasures. One of a series of international chocolate events (there are others in London and Brussels), this year’s event in Paris took place at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre from October 28th to November 1st. It united chocolatiers from around the world with all those who simply love chocolate.
What to Expect
From the moment I stepped on a busy train, I knew that I certainly wasn’t the only chocolate lover in Paris that morning. Sure enough, on my arrival crowds were already amassing outside the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre, so you can expect to share the chocolate with the multitudes.
With chocolatiers and producers from France, Europe and the four corners of the globe, just talking to the exhibitors on the stands was a pleasure in itself. I had my hands washed with a special chocolate soap made in the south of France, met an English man who had spent the formative years of his youth in Co. Cork and now had his own cacao farm in Venezuela, admired chocolate creations of every sort, and I chatted with people from just about everywhere.
The upper floor was broadly dominated by the commercial end of the chocolate world with household names such as Leonidas, while the lower floor housed the World Chocolate Masters, as well as stands from producer countries such as Colombia, Peru and Sao Tome (the latter offering delicious, freshly-made hot chocolate). Food tasting or chocolate tasting was the order of the day and, apart from the chocolate footballs and motorbikes that were the essence of temptation, there were plenty of other delectable delights.
Near the entrance there were mannequins dressed from head to toe in chocolate creations. Meanwhile downstairs the World Chocolate Masters attracted the crowds. At this event specialist chefs competed against each other to construct and craft works of art in chocolate. Imagine Michelangelo working with chocolate instead of stone and you will get the picture. Finally, in the centre of the main hall upstairs, the ‘Cacao Show’ featured cultural presentations from chocolate producing countries. The Bolivians presented traditional dancing and Andean music while the Colombians, needless to say, showed their sexiest salsa moves that transported spectators from a grey Parisian day to the Latin heat of the South American tropics.
Venue: Viparis, Porte de Versailles
Line 12: Porte de Versailles
Line 8: Balard
Line 80 ‘Porte de Versailles’ stop and lines 39, 42, 169 ‘Balard’ stop
Upcoming European Chocolate Events in 2016
Brussels: 5-7 February 2016, Brussels Expo
Milan: 13-15 February 2016, The Mall (Metro M2, Porta Garibaldi stop)
Moscow: 5-8 March 2016, Expocentre
London: 14-16 October 2016, Olympia National Hall
Paris: 28 October- 1 November 2016, Porte de Versailles
Want more information?
brussels.salon-du-chocolate.com in Flemish and French (info on the Brussels event)
www.salonduchocolat.it in Italian and English (info on the Milan event)
www.salonduchocolat.co.uk in English and French (info on the London event)
www.salonduchocolat.fr in French and English (info on the Paris event)
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