Chocolate lovers from all over Egypt gathered at the Salon Du Chocolat, the world’s premier chocolate festival bringing together consumers, manufacturers and equipment suppliers.
Initiated 15 years ago in France, the event has since been held in major cities around the world including New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow, Madrid and last weekend in Cairo, it’s debut in the Middle East.
Intricate statues and sculptures in various forms, ranging from violinists to cats, were on display, utilizing chocolate as a medium of art. First the sculpture itself is made out of a special clay-like material, and then it is thoroughly covered with chocolate and left to set.
“I do the sculpture and the chef covers it with the chocolate, said Bader Kamel, a ‘kitchen artist’ who specializes in sculptures, from the Ramses Hilton.
“Every kitchen has a ‘kitchen artist’ who is responsible for all the artwork related with the food, and the chef takes care of the culinary part, he explained.
The event featured chocolate manufacturers from Egypt and around the world who displayed products that are new and innovative to chefs. Al Nassima chocolate from the United Arab Emirates, for example, bills itself as the “finest camel chocolate milk available globally.
Mackintosh’s Quality Street brought their iconic logo to life in a booth where a couple dressed in Victorian garbs was passing out chocolate to visitors of the Salon.
By far the most entertaining and lively booth was Galaxy s, where visitors were encouraged to indulge in their favorite chocolate through a number of live presentations and activities.
There was a presentation about the history of chocolate and chocolate-making by Edward Seguine, a chocolate research fellow with Mars Inc. and also the Chairman of the International Cocoa Organization.
Seguine shared interesting facts on chocolate, explaining that cocoa beans were first thought to be almonds by Christopher Columbus when found them in America. Meanwhile, Mexico’s Aztec Empire used cocoa beans as currency.
“Remember, chocolate is not just a food, it’s an experience, you eat with your eyes, smell the aroma and then taste it with your tongue, Seguine said.
The event also featured live cooking of mouthwatering chocolate recipes by Jin Caldwell, a world class chef and a Mars associate who ranks among the top 10 chefs worldwide. Live demonstrations of chocolate crafting by Karthy, a chef known only by his first name, were an ongoing activity at the Galaxy booth.
The biggest crowd was gathered around the Mori Sushi booth, which teamed up with Galaxy to offer chocolate hand rolls.
“I’ve been a sushi chef for a quite a long time but it’s my first time to get really creative and make sushi with chocolate, said Sushi Chef, Ahmed Ezzat.
The innovative combination of the two attracted an audience, but only the daring among them actually sampled the creative chocolate-sushi combo.
“Sushi with chocolate is well.different, it’s my first time to try but still I can’t register the two together, one visitor, Soraya Ahmed, said.
The Chocolate Trends Fashion Show at Salon Du Chocolat was also a hit, showcasing dresses by prominent Egyptian fashion designers including Hany El-Beheriy. Although not exactly ready-to-wear, they were definitely interesting to see.