Chocing it Up

Salon du Chocolat returned for another year at London Olympia over the weekend. I first discovered and went in 2012, if I’m correct, that was their first ever show in London, and what a massive chocolatey hit it was! 

I saw and tasted things that were beyond the norm. Chocolatiers from all over the world came to showcase their specialities. This year I booked tickets through the link provided on the website, they were £12.50 each. Not bad, but could be a little less…

The show takes place during Chocolate week, a whole week dedicated to the almighty goodness, which not only is it very good for you, but some goodness is also guilt free 🙂 Chefs, chocolatiers, amateurs all celebrate the week, every restaurant has a limited edition chocolate dessert, hotels host chocolate afternoon teas, bars go all out to create a decadent chocolately beverage, they all go out in big ways!

I attended the event with a friend, we were both so excited……. to see and taste and of course buy a whole load 🙂 As we arrived to Olympia, it was jam packed, full of people, as we passed handbag security, I don’t know, I was slightly disappointed, there weren’t so many stalls. Walked round for a few times and nothing really caught my eye, also not many stalls were offering tastings! Weird that, also I found some stall owners weren’t really up to talking much to their customers, how are you meant to make a sale, if you don’t talk to the person asking you a question?!?! I just walked away after a few minutes. 

I did see a few really nice exhibits, like the Chocolate Queen, carved out of milk and white chocolate, from the creators of Chocolatician super intricate detail going on. They are probably the best in the business when it comes to chocolate artistry, creating spectacular edible showstoppers. The carved elephants by R Chocolates, whom are actually opening a London shop very soon. 

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Another thing which really stood out for me was Venchi’s chocolate tap, a tap that pours chocolate, delicate, creamy, deliciously hazelnut chocolate, I was given a little taster of it and I kid you not, was the best thing I have ever tasted! It was a very light hazelnut flavour, not overpowering like the ferrero, oh and a thousand times better than the Ferrero itself! The best Italian chocolate there could be, oh and in their London store, they sell gelato, and of course its meant to be delish, I’m still waiting to try it……

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Out of all the chocolatiers at the show, only one stood out to me, and that is The Chocolatier Aneesh Popat. I have been following his work for a while now on Instagram, and what I love the most about his work is the creative, flavour aspect. He mixes in Eastern, Indian flavours into his truffles, there’s almost a party going on in your mouth. I tried a few of his truffles for the first time at the show, and I was literally blown away. He is such a humble person, having met him in person, it was like a privilege. His chocolates feature in Michelin starred restaurants, he caters to Royality, they are even on Planes (you need to sit in first class though).

I bought his box of water ganache VĀRĀ – Rose Quince, Vanilla, Honey Milk Chocolate dusted Water Ganaches. His description of the chocolate: The chocolate that was named after a princess and made for a Maharaja. An exotic blend of 36% milk chocolate from Java, Asian rose, English quince, Bourbon vanilla and honey make this truffle steeped in majesty and charm.. It is then encased in a dark chocolate shell and dusted in Ecuadorian chocolate powder. Since the truffle is dusted in chocolate powder and not cocoa powder you will never get that initial bitterness. Experience the romantic aromas of the Indian monsoon.”

The flavours in the truffles are exquisite, the rose is not too overpowering, the perfect balance of the honey milk chocolate with the vanilla is paired well. It also has quince pieces which gives it a more subtle taste, the aromas of the rose comes through very nicely. It is a taste of Rajasthan at its best! Whenever I venture into a sari shop, or a shop selling murtis, this is the sort of smell that lingers. Everytime I have a bite of the truffle it takes me back to India. Very floral, elegant, the sweet fragrance of the motherland. The water ganache is perfect, its very light, theres no cream or butter to leave your palate feeling sickly sweet. The combination of the milk chocolate encased in dark chocolate is a good flavour pay off, and I love that it’s rolled in chocolate powder rather than Cocoa Powder, there is no harsh bitterness at the end. It’s a very straight forward flavour combination, which leaves you wanting more and more…… box_vara__85497.1439972385.1000.1200.jpg

I paid £10 for this at the show, online it retails for £9.95 + delivery charge, not much of a price difference. Although for £12.50 entry, the show definitely was not worth it, I mean I pretty much walked around in half an hour and nothing much took my breath away. It was a bit of a let down, even my friend who came, thought the same, even she didn’t really buy much. Although I’m glad I got to meet Aneesh, and try out his amazing collection, but even for £12.50, I could have gone to another event and seen him…… 

Hey ho, I don’t think I’d be too enticed next time round. 

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