New York Food Festivals -- Tales From The New York Chocolate Show
Death By Chocolate
I love chocolate and am proud of it. Forget about it being a guilty pleasure -- I have a little almost every day. The good news is, dark chocolate has anti-oxidants and can actually help prevent heart attacks. So my chocolate addiction is healthy! Yay!
As it turns out, I'm not alone in my love for chocolate. In fact, New York City hosts a Chocolate Show every year in the Metropolitan Pavillion (125 W. 18th St.). I'm one of the lucky few who's had the chance to attend this New York City food festival twice ... and was in awe upon seeing how much can actually be done with chocolate.
You see, chocolate isn't just for eating (though that's the best part). You can sculpt it, paint with it, use it in bath products ... and even wear it. Yes, you heard me correctly: one of the events at the New York Chocolate Show is the chocolate fashion show.
People are often intrigued when I tell them about the event. So here's an account of my chocolate adventures. Warning: don't read this on an empty stomach!
Scenes From The New York Chocolate show
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You're probably thinking that chocolate fashions aren't very functional, especially if it's warm outside and well, you're right. These over-the-top pieces are strictly for show. But boy are they delici.... er, beautiful.
The first year I went to the Chocolate Show, they had a wide variety of chocolate outfits including a flapper dress and an elaborate 1800s-inspired gown. Meanwhile, this year the theme was chocolate Halloween costumes, so they displayed a chocolate witch and a chocolate Bride of Frankenstein among others.
Most of these pieces are not made of 100 percent chocolate. With the Bride of Frankenstein outfit, for example, her bouquet was chocolate, as were some embellishments on the dress. The flapper dress, however, was made of a chocolate "mesh," where hundreds of pieces of chocolate had been connected to form a design.
These outfits are kept on display in a chilly room. Most are actually created on the models, though, because they'd melt or fall apart if someone actually tried to slip into them. The artisan molds the fashions right to the models' frames and then they do a quick walk on the runway. It has to be quick or else their outfits will melt right off of them!
Chocolate Fashion Show
Sculpted Chocolate And Chocolate Art
When I was at the chocolate show, I was especially impressed with the chocolate sculptures and chocolate paintings. One artist used different varities of melted chocolate (milk, dark, white, semi-dark) and splashed the different colors across the canvas a la Jackson Pollock. Once the chocolate dried, it stuck to the canvas like paint.
Meantime, sculptors managed to shape the chocolate into wild shapes unlike any I'd ever seen! There were chocolate towers with chocolate curls, as well as chocolate vases and chocolate statues. We stopped at one stall where a choco-artist was busy whittling away at a huge block of chocolate as if he were carving a piece of wood. I don't know how he managed to do all of that work without eating half of it along the way, but perhaps he was using a bitter variety to steer clear of temptation.
Chocolate Sculptures (and no, I'm not the Naomi R in the video)!
All The Gourmet Chocolate I Could Ever Dream Of
The first time my friend and I entered the show, we joked that we were just like kids in a candy store -- literally. But we seriously didn't know where to turn first. Stall after stall greeted us, each offering samples of their goods. There were chocolate covered potato chips, chocolate covered bacon (both surprisingly good), chocolate made with camel's milk, chocolate bars made of 91 percent cocoa and chocolate cherry chili bars. They then had stalls containing baked goods such as brownies and chocolate chip cookies.
What I really loved, though, were the artistic chocolates. Several stands offered boxes of artfully decorated truffles that looked like mini paintings. I was almost hesitant to eat them, but they were damn good!
To my credit, I only purchased a few items (a box of the painted chocolates for my sister-in-law, a candy bar for my husband and some potato chips for my parents), but the sensation of being completely surrounded by chocolate stayed with me for days.
Some say that you can have too much of a good thing. But when it comes to chocolate, I say that there's no limit! I'm already craving next year's show ... and intend to be there with an open mind and an empty stomach.