Indulgence is everything

Hunting for the best chocolatier at London's annual Chocolate Festival

There are three things that I consider myself an expert on: acclimating myself to new cultures, shoes, and chocolate.

This past weekend marked the second annual Chocolate Festival in Central London. For three whole days, it was non-stop chocolate in London-town.

Thirty-five green and white tents colored the outdoor pavilion of the Southbank Centre. The aroma of freshly fried churros with chocolate sauce, brewing hot chocolate, and chocolate-covered strawberry skewers wafted from the tents.

I’m taking the Food and Culture class at Faraday House and decided that for my final group project, I would take on the laborious task, and focus on the Central London Chocolate Festival. It meant three whole days of stuffing my face with truffles, fudge and brownies.

On day one of the festival, I did a casual stroll through the venue. I walked from tent to tent, scoping out the different types of decadent desserts, and mentally noting which ones I would come back to and indulge on the following day.

When day two came, my project partner, Steph Horn, and I decided that we were on a mission to find the best chocolatier at the event. We started from one corner, and made our way through each one of the tents, sampling away to hearts’ desire. After trying truffles, pretzels, fudge, brownies, martinis, chilli made with chocolate, hot chocolate, chocolate-covered Easter eggs, passion-fruit chocolate, raw chocolate, and chocolate with churros, we had a tough decision to make.

a chocolate, tomato, and guacamole dish

In the end, Steph decided that the very first booth turned out to be her favourite- their signature chocolate Easter egg satisfied her every chocolate need. I, on the other hand, had to give it up to Paul Wayne Gregory’s chocolates. Gregory was one chef who thought outside of the chocolate box.

His unique and wide assortment of chocolates included passion fruit, rum, whisky, mint, spice, and space-dust chocolate. Yes, space-dust chocolate. This small square of chocolate decadence encased a tiny core of space dust, which creates the same tingly sensation of Pop Rocks candy. While the explosion of space dust, spice and alcohol may not be to every chocolate lover’s liking, Gregory’s passion fruit chocolate had visitors coming back for more.

Gregory’s motto is, “Indulgence is everything.” And after this weekend, I can proudly say I accomplished that task.

On the other side of the tent divide sat Chocacoa, the “healthy chocolate” vendor.

“Our chocolate is actually healthy for you,” Sandford said. “We prepare our chocolate via the Acticoa method, which retains 80% of the antioxidants in the cocoa bean, whereas the regular method only retains 20 to 30% of the antioxidants.”

She went on to explain that doctors say higher levels of antioxidants can perform health wonders, like prevent heart disease, strengthen the immune system and improve concentration and memory.

At the Central London Chocolate Festival there’s a chocolate for every palate, proving life truly is like a box of chocolates- You never know what you’re ‘gonna get. 

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