April 3, 2014

Salon du Chocolat

People will come, Ray, people will most definitely come.

There are many different kinds of love in the world. Puppy. True. Unrequited. Dangerous. Platonic. Romantic. Maternal. But few affairs are more torrid than the one between the French and their chocolate.

Gerry Cheevers or Hannibal Lecter
Dijon's inaugural Salon du Chocolat was a poem to chocolate lovers everywhere. At dozens of stands, the cocoa bean was dressed to kill. It was shaped into dolphins, owls, frogs, and cows; made into flower bouquets; sculpted into shoes; turned into edible art.

People tasted and bought it in countless shapes, colors, and textures. There was white chocolate with plump hazelnuts popping out; sublime squares scented with ginger, cinnamon, or salt; ganaches of every flavor; slabs of Ugandan, French, Swiss, and Ecuadorean goodness. It covered candied fruit and was turned into lollipops. The artisans wore rough gloves to prevent it melting as they broke, weighed, and sold it to adults and the kids who were everywhere, riding every part of the sugar wave.

A Michelin-starred chef offered free samples of pumpkin soup flavored with a chocolate cream. He rolled foie gras in cocoa powder, which he served, dusted with a little orange zest, on top of little toasts. These latter had been slathered in the grease from the foie gras, because, as the chef reminded his audience, “one should never waste anything in the kitchen, so why not use that grease? It would be a shame to throw it out!”

In addition to the chocolate, there were fine wines and liqueurs to accompany the sweets. The “World Champion of Jam” offered demos, samples, and a vast selection of products. Nougat, doughnuts, and “bretzels” all made an appearance. And, of course, there was a foie gras salesman in the middle of the chocolate show.    

 Two hours before the show ended for the weekend, the line to get in was several hundred yards long. It seems there is little more attractive than a chocolate feast on a Sunday afternoon in early spring in the heart of Burgundy’s capital city.

What: Salon du Chocolat
Where: Parc des Expositions (Tram: Auditorium), Dijon, Côte d’Or, Burgundy
When: Early spring (the first version was in late March; 2015 dates TBD)

How Much: 4 euros

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