CHOCOLATE WEEK - 14th to 20th October 2013
The world's largest chocolate show takes place in London, featuring top pastry chef's, children's workshops and a chocolate fashion show. Chocolate Factory Open Days in Edinburgh and York and an Evening of Fine Chocolate and Tequila with Chocolatier, Paul Young and Cleo Rocas takes place on the 16th in London. The film 'Chocolat' with Johnny Depp and Juliet Binoche has special showings throughout the week. In Liverpool on the 18th and 19th, and set in a Victorian industrial space, there is a Chocolate Food Slam. While John Lewis, the well known department store, has chocolate tastings this week in all its stores. Every day customers can sample delicious hand made chocolate.
Participants in Chocolate Week include a host a chocolate shops and makers, bakeries and hotels and restaurants plus department stores, such as Heals, Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Noticeable hotels include Best Western and Crowne Plaza and rerstaurants such as Benito's and Chatto's.
For all the event details and to see a wide range of exciting chocolate recipes go to the Chocolate Week website:
How Do We Recognise Good Chocolate?
Sara Stanes, author of 'Chocolate - the Definitive Guide' says that the quality and provenance of the cocoa beans and the manufacturing process are vital, as it is with fine wines. The country of origin and the quality of the beans are more important than where the chocolate is made. Ideally, chocolate should contain a minimum cocoa content of 60% for dark and 30% for milk. But more cocoa does not in itself mean good - if the beans, and the production process are not good then you are not buying good chocolate. Chocolate should not contain an 'e' number, artificial preservatives or hydrogenated fats.
In terms of chocolate's appearance, Sara Stanes says that it should be flawless, evenly coloured and a deep shade of mahogany or red. There should be no cracks, air pockets, streaks or bloom. Its aroma should be one of a complex fragrance - sweetly fragrant but not overpowering. You should detect vanilla, berry, caramel, roasted nuts. If you can't smell then you can't taste. Good chocolate should feel silky to the touch, not sticky and it should snap cleanly and not crumble. As for aftertaste, flavour should linger for several minutes with a clean aftertaste and no residue; and certainly not be overpoweringly sweet.
Be weak to chocolate this week!!