Hi guys! I went to the Parisian edition of Le Salon du Chocolat today, which is an annual trade fair for the chocolate industry. Created in 1995, the fair takes place not only in France but also in a lot of cities around the world since 2008 :) There are a lot of exhibitions, conferences around chocolate and of course, it involves a lot of tasting and buying too. I was more interested in the two latest activities to be honest haha! But the various chocolate scupltures were really impressing and the designer dresses made for the fashion show (you can see some them here) were amazing as well. This was actually the first time I’ve ever been to this event, I went with a friend who won 2 tickets for it in a giveaway and I wasn’t disappointed.
The fair was held in a 2-floor building. On the first floor, the majority of booths were held by cocoa producing countries (Latin American countries, African countries etc.) and there was also an exhibition of chocolate sculptures made by the final contestants of the World Chocolate Masters 2015, which was hosted at the fair. The second floor was mostly for shopping with a lot of different chocolate brands from all-over the world. A few other sculptures and the dresses of this year’s chocolate fashion show were scattered around too. The lighthing was a bit bad ninside the building so it wasn’t easy to nice take pictures (and my camera is crap).
Needless to say that I spent a lot of time on the second floor… France, Belgium, Japan and Italy were the most represented countries. Chinese, Lithuanian, American, British, Swiss and even Vietnamese brands were around too. Some of the exhibitors didn’t even sell chocolate, but sweets/pastries… even alcohol (champagne etc.). I saw a booth selling chocolate cheese… lol. I was given a sample but it just tasted like normal cheese in my opinion.
I wasn’t really interested in buying mainstream/industrial chocolates like Nestlé, Lanvin, Cémoi etc. that you can find at the supermarket for Christmas, because I’ll be bound to buy them at some point. Same for Belgian brands such as Jeff de Bruges or Léonidas, two huge franchises with a lot of shops accross the country. I preferred putting my money into handmade chocolates that were a bit special.
From left to right, then center :
• 4 lollipops (cactus, violet, poppy and lavender flavors), Les Sucettes du Val-André (Val-André, France)
• Wasabi-flavored ganaches, Tokyo Chocolate (Tokyo, Japan)
• Box of 8 macarons, Sadaharu AOKI (Paris, France)
• Matcha-flavored crispy rice chocolate chunks, Tokyo Chocolate (Tokyo, Japan)
• Olive oil chocolates (Athéna), Espérantine de Marseille (Marseille, France)
• 2 free samples of The Chocolate, Meiji (Tokyo, Japan)
• Espelette pepper (French chili pepper)-flavored ganaches, Antton Chocolatier (Espelette, France)
• Box of chocolates 110g, Jean-Paul Hévin (Paris, France)
Everything on the list is handmade, except the Meiji free samples. I bought most of them after tasting a sample (it’s always the most effective way to encourage people into buying food!). I have a strong preference for ganaches1 and dark/milk chocolate so I didn’t buy any pralinés² (there are some in the Jean-Paul Hévin box though). I don’t usually do white chocolate either but I don’t really “hate” it (except when I eat too much, it just makes me feel sick), it’s just that I don’t consider it as “real” chocolate but just as cocoa butter. Tokyo Chocolate’s Wasabi ganaches are actually wasabi-flavored white chocolate ganaches, I didn’t realize until I got home haha (the sample tasted great so I overlooked).
1. Ganaches: Chocolates obtained by mixing couverture chocolate and cream, they are often infused with other things like fruits or plants to give them a special flavor! I love them because they melt perfectly in the mouth and are not too sweet :D “Ganache” can also refer to chocolate filling, icing/frosting etc. in/on pastries.
2. Pralinés: (pralines in English) Chocolates filled with a paste made by a mix of couverture chocolate, nuts and sugar. Usually coated in dark or milk chocolate. (Belgian and American pralines seem to be a bit different from French ones)