|Chocolates brought home, Goufrais|
My first impression upon arrival was that this was clearly a place for chocolate fanatics and therefore, I was well and truly at home. Walking through Olympia West, enthusiastic conversations about 'bean to bar' chocolate and regional specialties could be heard at every turn, along with appreciative 'mmm's as ticket holders would place chocolate samples in their mouths. Opening times on the first day of the show were from 10am until 7pm, meaning that our early arrival allowed for room to breathe, although by the time we left during the early hours of the afternoon, that had changed considerably. I could never have anticipated how popular The Chocolate Show would be, however it doesn't at all come as a surprise considering the show boasts names such as Hotel Chocolat, Rococo and Lindt.
Along with household names that are known both by chocolate enthusiasts and complete novices, we stumbled across various brands that weren't as well-known. Just as when blogging about other areas such as unearthing new beauty products or clothing labels, discovering a brand unknown to me before at The Chocolate Show proved to be thrilling at times. An example of this was Bad Brownie, a brand that speaks to the side of us that craves something devilishly indulgent at half past one in the morning - never have I wanted to live in London so badly before!
Out of their extensive selection of jaw-dropping creations available at their food markets around London (see their website for more details on locations), ten million points go to the Peanut Caramel Balls, as also seen on my Instagram. The presentation of their sweet treats was impeccable and if I didn't have so many irritating allergies, I would have needed a dozen burly guys to help me carry my brownie haul back home with me! I hadn't realised it was possible, but the brand seem to have made brownies borderline edgy and before you think I've gone mad, check out the company's developing website for a background on their brownie revolution. As a side note, Bad Brownie welcome ideas for new brownie flavours and so if you fancy yourself a brownie connoisseur, head over to their Twitter account to share your genius!
|Anybody else envious of his dazzling white teeth?!|
Once I'd managed to get over my newfound brand love, I continued on in the search of chocolatey goodness and soon found myself listening to an endlessly fascinating talk at the Chocolate Theatre by Maricel Presilla, author of The New Taste of Chocolate, on Latin American cacao and chocolat. The informed talk packed full with information by Presilla drew in a considerable crowd and especially so when delicious samples of chocolate were passed around, with tips on how to recognise certain traits that distinguished one type of cacao from another.
My experience of The Chocolate Show introduced me to other interesting brands including Demarquette, a company founded by master chocolatier Marc Demarquette, a man who prides himself on creating 'timeless recipes and entire collections that inspire'. Most certainly, inspiration is the first thing that springs to mind when being introduced to Demarquette's collections, including The Great British Orchard and The English Garden, a beautifully fragrant collection featuring hand painted chocolate flowers that conceal caramel within. Another brand I familiarised myself with yesterday was The Brownie Bar, a company based in Newcastle upon Tyne and one of the brands I purchased from. If there's one thing to know about me, it's that I adore salted caramel and so when the opportunity arose to indulge in a deliciously gooey salted caramel chocolate brownie, I welcomed it with open arms!
As I mentioned earlier on, some very well known and loved brands were showcasing some of their latest additions at Olympia West, Hotel Chocolat included. There are few things as wonderful as chocolate, besides Christmas.. and so combine the two and you've got an incredibly excitable blogger on your hands. Hotel Chocolat's 2014 Christmas selection was on display from decorative wreaths to oversized crackers and I even managed to pick up a couple of sweet stocking fillers whilst admiring their festive collection!
|Hotel Chocolat's Gingerbread Truffles|
A highlight of The Chocolate Show is undoubtedly the fashion show as mentioned at the beginning of this post, however in a bid to make our journey home that little less hectic, we left before the show took place. Thankfully, the awe-inspiring creations were on display for all to see throughout the day, allowing me to capture the most magnificent design to share with you here! Surprisingly, Harvey Nichols also made an appearance at the event directly next to the Chocolate Theatre and were on hand to provide a fabulous selection of cookbooks as well as the opportunity to have your copy of Maricel Presilla's book signed by the lady herself! After a Christmas-themed cookbook featuring a recipe for Speculoos spread had been purchased and gift wrapped, one last lap of the show was walked before stumbling across a low-key stand that was both modest and unobtrusive. The stand belonged to the German brand 'Goufrais' and after sampling one of the chocolate treats on offer, I was immediately hooked and proceeded to purchase a golden bag of Goufrais goodies of my very own to enjoy back at home! For me, Goufrais ranks right up there with my appreciation of Green & Black's chocolate!
I am so pleased to have attended The Chocolate Show at London's Olympia, as from beginning to end it was constantly enjoyable and informative. The standout brands for me were the luxurious Goufrais and the self-confessed 'deliciously bad' Bad Brownie. With regard to entertainment, I'm thrilled to have been reminded of booking my seat to see the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical and it was an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to listen to Maricel Presilla. Considering the event has just one day remaining, the short notice may not be ideal for you to check it out tomorrow.. however it's one date that I would recommend placing firmly on your 2015 calendar!