A Chocoholic's Dream Come True: The Salon du Chocolat in Paris
|Chocolate lipstick by Sebastian Bouillet|
With streets named "Plaisirs" (Pleasures), "Vanille" (Vanilla) and "Noisette" (Hazelnut) and vendors selling lipstick, cell phones, condoms and elegant shoes made out of chocolate, visitors to the 18th annual Salon du Chocolat in Paris may feel as if they've unwittingly stumbled into an alternate universe created by chocoholics. It's a sweet world, where 200 of the greatest chocolatiers and pastry chefs demonstrate how to make secret recipes and more than 400 participants offer tantalizing samples. It's also a world where the vendors are eager to share their knowledge about this fascinating subject.
Limoges porcelain hot chocolate makers with wooden paddles for frothing.
Intrigued by a signboard with the ominous message, "Chocolate can kill!", I paused in front of a stall with two female mannequins dressed in long gowns and a priest standing at a pulpit. While I carefully considered if the warning referred to the large chocolate sample melting in my mouth, the vendor enquired if I was familiar with the proverb, "Beware the chocolate of Chiapas". When I said that I wasn't, she explained that the mannequins represented the women of Chiapas, Mexico who had grown so fond of drinking hot chocolate during high mass in the middle of the 17th century that their maids frequently interrupted the service to bring them pots filled with the frothy liquid. Angered by their behavior, the Bishop of Chiapas attempted to stop the women from turning the church into a cafe by threatening to excommunicate them. He was found dead, poisoned by a carefully prepared cup of hot chocolate. The moral of the story: Don't mess with women when they're craving hot chocolate!
If you would like to join the 130,000 visitors who will discover the world's largest event dedicated to chocolate, the Salon du Chocolat is at the Porte De Versailles until November 4, 2012. There are still many "must-sees" on the schedule, including the daily Chocolate Fashion Show and presentations about the birth of a new blond chocolate, cocoa's journey from the plantation to the plate, wine and chocolate master classes and the rebirth of pastries: in search of lost gourmet treats.
Here are a couple of pictures to whet your appetite. Hungry for more chocolate? Please click here to see the complete photo album on facebook. You don't need to have an account to view it.
Ferrero Rocher samples and chocolate cell phones