Celebrating Chocolate

Throw in a glorious sunny weekend in Melbourne (given the notoriously unpredictable weather) and a speciality festival dedicated to chocolate with a group of chocoholics and possibly chocolate connoisseurs in the making; voila! You have the Chocolate Rush Festival. Running into its third year, the Chocolate Rush was celebrated over two days this year – Saturday, 8 and Sunday, 9 August at the Melbourne Showgrounds.

Feel that rush when you put that piece of chocolate in your mouth, lusciously melting your soul, exuding from you that divine feeling…perhaps the feeling of love? Many must have felt the same with all the free samplings of chocolates in all shapes, sizes and flavours that were available at the chocolate market held in and around the Showground’s Centenary Hall. The markets featured more than 40 local, regional and international chocolate, food and wine producers.

Ranging from chocolate classes to chocolate wrestling, the festival had something for all ages and tastes. The sweet toothed could indulge in some scrumptious cupcakes or yummy chocó-chip cookies. The “Indulge your Senses” hot chocolate was another popular stall that people flocked to and proved a good relief to the drafty-cold outside. People who didn’t like “too much” of chocolate could either settle in for gazing at the amazing chocolate sculpture and choose their favourite to be nominated for the People’s Choice Award, or head out to the sample the wines, cheeses, breads and deli. Kids dabbled with their chocolate-cooking skills at the Kids Kitchen, one of the newer events this year. They also got to play, draw and demonstrate their art, which became part of the market walls.

For people who wished to learn about creating a chocolate experience in their kitchen, could attend Chocolate classes. Presented by Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School, you could learn to make truffles, cut and hand dripped chocolates and chocolate garnishes. The “Masters at Works” series featured local and international guests who share their unique skills and talents in Masterclass demonstrations. The series dubbed as a once-off opportunity to see world class patisserie chefs Christian Camprini, of France and Koji Fujita, Japan, at their best.

The 2009 Australian Chocolate Championships saw entrants from South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, with more than 141 sets of chocolates and 7 chocolate showpieces to be judged. Festival sponsor Callebaut, was offering a trip to Belgium for the winner of the chocolate showpiece category to work with their master chocolatiers in Belgium. Yes, finally save for last was Chocolate wrestling, an adults-only event, slapping, slipping and slopping around chocolate was indeed a sight to watch in the “cacao bean soaked atmosphere of Chocolate Rush.”

 

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