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The Chocolate festival in Stockholm

This Saturday I went to the Chocolate festival in Nordiska Museet (the Nordic Museum), Stockholm for the first time. It was also the first time I visited the museum. It was a great visit! I will definitely return, both to the festival and the museum.

chocolate festivalThe premises

The other chocolate festivals I have visited were not located in such grand buildings.  This has been an advantage to some extent. The sound level was quite loud in Nordiska Museet, which has a really high ceiling and is all made of stone/ marble. But the museum is really magnificent and I would really like to see more of the beautiful halls and rooms. But that, I have to do some other time, since the goal for this day was chocolate – not architecture.

 

Samplings

There were plenty of exhibitors (46). Most of them were dealing with chocolate in one way or another. Many were offering samples of chocolate bars. Optimistically we started out trying every kind we could get hold of, but soon realized that this was not going to work. I almost got tired of chocolate (!!!). I am not the person to normally turn down a good piece of chocolate. Probably not even a bad piece of chocolate either. And this place was filled with high quality samples! We had planned to eat lunch about noon, but when the clock turned 4 p.m. we still hadn´t gotten around to it. We just didn’t feel hungry after all that chocolate.

Pralines

There were a lot of praline makers. Most of them had a lower prize for the day, so we bought a lot of different pralines from different makers. Pralinhuset had only half the prize of the rest, so their stall was packed with people. There were no samplings of the pralines anywhere, but Gotlandsgården gave out spoons with two kinds of ganache, which tasted lovely.

chocolate pralinesThere was a huge selection of different flavours amongst the pralines. Plenty of imaginative and original combinations. I love to try new flavours and I bought a considerable amount of pralines which I will review later on.  Of course I also bought some classics and old favourites. It is hard to resist passion fruit or sea salt pralines. I was particularly looking forward to the pralines from Flickorna Kanold which I have been longing for since I moved from Gothenburg where they are located.

I had hoped to try the winner of the “Praline of the year 2011”, but it didn´t turn out that way. But I did get a hold of one of the finalists. I will tell you more about it later.

On stage

Something was happening on the stage most of the time. But sadly the audience was mostly small. Probably most of them were relatives and friends of the contestants in various competitions, such as Kladdkakeracet (a competition for kids to bake the best chocolate cake) and The Praline of the year. I saw the prize ceremony of Kladdkakeracet. It was really touching to see how the winner Ida (12 years) was radiating with happiness. You could really tell how a big deal this was to her.

Willie Wonky

When Willie Harcourt –Cooze came on stage the crowd grew considerably. I was fortunate enough get in front, so I could see and hear really well. He is a very enthusiastic and charismatic person and he really burns for his plantation and for chocolate in general. He is fun to listen to and his enthusiasm is contagious.

Willie Harcourt-cooze

 

Willie was giving a demonstration of chocolate mousse making. At the same time he was describing the way from cacao bean to chocolate while he was passing around samples in the audience. We got to try fermented cacao bean, roasted cacao nibs and 100% chocolate. When he finally passed around the chocolate mousse the audience turned almost into a rock concert crowd. At that time it wasn´t as pleasant to be in front anymore…

Events

It was a pretty poor selection of chocolate testing and lectures. I was actually surprised, since it has been a lot more to offer in much smaller chocolate festivals. There was supposed to be a small stage for demonstrations of chocolatiers, but it was hardly mentioned in the programme and I didn´t even find it, which really disappointed me.

Raw chocolate from Pacari

However we managed to get to one lecture/ testing about Pacari. The lecture was held by Kersti from Zebeda (distributors of Pacari) together with a man from the Ecuadorian embassy. The lecture was manly about the health benefits of chocolate in general and above all raw chocolate. Kersti told us that she eats about 6-10 pieces of chocolate every day and has a fantastic cholesterol level. Since chocolate of fine quality is really healthy she suggested that you give a piece to your kids (and yourself) after school to keep the mood up until supper. I am a really stressed out parent to two small boys, so maybe I will try this out myself.

raw chocolate lectureWe got to try cocoa butter –both to eat and to smear on our lips. It didn´t taste much but was great for the lips. We also got to try 100% raw chocolate. I have tried 100% before and hadn´t liked it much. It reminds me of eating dust. But this was totally different! I think I could eat this as a regular chocolate bar. It was not as bitter and full of flavour.

We also got to compare two chocolate bars with the exactly the same content – cacao nibs and sea salt. One was a regular bar and one was raw chocolate. It was amazingly big difference. I fell mostly for the raw kind even if the other was great too. Most of the audience liked the raw better but not all. Sea salt and cacao nibs in combination is as good as it can be for me. And that it´s also really healthy is a plus. Maybe I have found a new favourite?

chocolate bars from Pacari

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Pacari I bought a gift to my mother who was babysitting this weekend. She is a big health freak and likes to eat raw food, so a bar of raw chocolate with spirulina was perfect for her. We also found out that Pacari is one of the few chocolate brands that is totally biodynamic. This is also something my mother appreciates. But I´m still unsure about this chocolate for her. When it comes to sweets she puts all healthy thoughts aside and quantity usually wins over quality.

Shopping

It was hard not to shop too much, which I probably did. So you will hear about those product long to come. Not only did I buy pralines and chocolate bars. I also found chocolate pasta and chocolate glögg (a Swedish glüwein – to drink warm around christmas).

The chocolate train?

After a wonderful day we were cramped with bags, tired, hungry and our feet were hurting. I had read about a chocolate train in the programme which was supposed to bring us back to Stockholm city centre. We asked a lot of staff and nobody had even heard of it! So we had to walk back. It wasn´t very far and we really needed the oxygen after a long day. It was a lovely finale of to stroll in the sunset in the fresh autumn air.

 

Links to more information – all will be opened in a new window:

The homepage of the Chocolate festival

The homepage of Nordiska Museet

The homepage of Pralinhuset

The homepage of Gotlandsgården (in swedish)

The homepage of Flickorna Kanold (in swedish)

About Kladdkakeracet on the homepage of Arla (in swedish)

The homepage of Willie´s World Class Cacao

About Raw chocolate in the Guardian

The homepage of Pacari

The homepage of Zebeda (in swedish)



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