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Comfort food - 14th Chocolate Show opens in Paris with 400 exhibitors & 140 chocolatiers from around the world


By WcP.Art - Posted on 01 November 2008

Former Miss France 2007 Rachel Legrain-Trapani presents a creation by Jean Doucet and Ghraoui Chocolatier at the 14th Salon du Chocolat (Paris Chocolate Show) in Paris October 28, 2008

(quote)

The 14th edition of the Chocolate Fair has opened in Paris featuring 400 exhibitors and 140 chocolatiers from around the world, featuring displays and mountains of chocolate, top pastry chefs and sculptures. Visitors will be able to sample treats, creamy truffles and steaming cups of hot chocolate.

"It may be doom and gloom for everybody else, but for us all is well," said Gilles Marchal of luxury French chocolate-maker La Maison du Chocolat, speaking as the annual Paris chocolate show opened Wednesday. "Chocolate is a comfort-food," he added. "There has been no drop in sales."

in these troubled times, chocolate-makers are walking on the wild side with weird flavours such as cauliflower

The French have had a long-standing love affair with chocolate since its introduction to the country by Anne of Austria in 1615. It was presented as a wedding gift upon her marriage to Louis XIII. Anne of Austria only married him on condition that she could bring her own chocolate supplies from Spain. By the mid-1600s, the chocolate drink had gained widespread popularity in France.

On the eating front, the Swiss are the world's top consumers, according to France's Chocolate-Makers Union, with a whopping 12.3 kilogrammes per person per year. Germans mop up 11.2 per person, Britons 10.3 and Belgians 9.3. But while the Japanese adore dark chocolate, the Chinese hate it and in fact continue to turn up their noses at bars of pure chocolate, preferring confectionery instead.

Laetitia Bleger, Valerie Begue, Elodie Gossuin, Alexandra Rosenfeld and Rachel Trapani display a chocolate decorated dress during the Chocolate dress fashion show celebrating the opening of the 14th Salon du Chocolat at the Porte Versailles, on October 28, 2008 in Paris, France

At the yearly chocolate show, organizer Sylvie Douce said this year's trend was fair trade chocolate. "More and more consumers are aware of the problems facing cocoa producing nations," she said. Traceability was a growing concern, Marchal added, with consumers "checking the products used, reading the labels and the origins, and interested in who is involved in the transformation process."

Chocolate-lovers too are now demanding high levels of cocoa, said Douce. "A decade ago people couldn't swallow chocolate with 90 percent cocoa. Now they want less sugar and cream and more cocoa because they believe it's better for their health." At La Maison du Chocolat, for instance, recipes set down three decades ago are being modified to reduce sugar and fats, Marchal said.

a chocolate model of the Eiffel Tower is displayed at the 14th Salon du Chocolat (Paris Chocolate Show) in Paris October 28, 2008

As for blending flavours, "anything's possible", said Hevin. Spices, introduced a decade ago, continue to appeal, with chocolate laced with pepper, turmeric, fennel or mildly hot Espelette chilli pepper all very much in vogue. Cheese-flavoured chocolate too is now on the shelves thanks to Hevin, who sees it as the ultimate cocktail-time pleaser. But the prize for weird and wonderful goes to Belgium's Dominique Persoone, whose Bruges workshop in the Flemish-speaking part of the country has produced chocolates flavoured with cauliflower, basil, dried tomato jam, black olives and even chocolate biscuits encrusted with chicken-skin. "These won't be popular with grannies and children," he said.

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of Reuters/Benoit Tessier, AFP, Julien M. and Hekimian/Getty Images

Original Source: ITN and AFP

Image Galleries: Paris Chocolate Show and Paris Chocolate Show a sweet way to forget crunch

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