This year's Chocolate Week culminated with a grand two day chocolate extravaganza Chocolate Unwrapped in London. Chris Osburn (Great British Chefs’ Guest Blogger) went along and blogged his thoughts on the event.
All photography by Chris Osburn
Another year, another fabulous Chocolate Week celebration of everybody’s most beloved dark indulgence. Chocked full of tastings, special chocolate menus at a range of quality restaurants and lots and lots of other tasty and inventive events in London and around Britain, this year’s Chocolate Week appears to have been a hit. The culmination of the week, Chocolate Unwrapped – a two-day fine chocolate vendor fest at Vinopolis near London Bridge – was certainly teeming with a variety of chocolate enthusiasts during my Sunday afternoon visit.
Chocolate Salami by Chris Osburn
A choco-licious showcase featuring more than 40 exhibitors from Britain and around the world, including Britain’s best chocolate makers such as Paul A Young, Paul Wayne Gregory and William Curley along with well established British brands like Thorntons and Divine and exhibitors from France, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Holland and Germany. The event offered an opportunity not only to eat chocolate but to view chocolate art, meet and talk with chocolatiers, attend talks and demos and even relax in a Harvey Nichols pop-up chocolate café or watch chocolate being made in the smallest chocolate factory in the world.
Chocolate Fountain at Chocolate Unwrapped
For me, the event presented a chance to sample a whole variety of chocolates … and to fall in love with some new notable mentions. From my chocolaty smudged notes:
- Akesson’s Plantation Peppered Chocolate: a sharp, flavoursome and organic medley of cocoa and pepper grown at the same family plantation on Madagascar;
- Chocolate Shop’s chocolate lover’s wine: at first, I thought ‘oh brother, what a gimmick’. Then, I tasted this velvety wine and chocolate blend. Admittedly a bit of a novelty but definitely a tasty one.
- Choccy Munch Seeds: a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds ‘enrobed’ in Belgian dark chocolate with a bit of chilli and ginger or dried apricot. I thought these little snack packets presented a tasty way to ensure you’re getting a bit of nutrition when needing a chocolate fix.
Chocolate Keys by Chris Osburn
Usually, an extravaganza on the scale of Chocolate Unwrapped would leave me spinning to determining an absolute favourite. But family-owned Ecuadorian chocolate makers, Pacari, blew me away with its premium, single origin organic chocolate. I revelled in tasting all the bars, chocolate covered cacao beans and chocolate covered fruits at their stand. And I was particularly floored by the earthy and complex flavours of Pacari’s minimally processed raw chocolate bars. The raw chocolate bar with Andean blueberry was especially memorable a day later.
To say Pacari was the best of the lot doesn’t mean everything else was less than enjoyable. I liked everything I sampled on Sunday and believe you me I did my best to get a nibble of everything I could. Here’s to a delicious Chocolate Week in 2012 and the hopes of many, many more of them to come.
Blog post for Great British Chefs by Chris Osburn