Next Halloween, if you’re like me and love to sample a wide variety of chocolates but don’t want to bother with a costume for the privilege of doing so, the Chocolate Show in NYC is just your ticket! For a modest $35 entrance fee, not only can you taste the best truffles from France, organic bark pieces with over 80% cacao, or pluck generous chunks of chocolate bars from mounded plates at seemingly every table, you also get a full celebration of chocolate culture and the delicious extravagance it produces:
Victorian Haunted Mansion Made Entirely of Chocolate – This here is the real deal built from scratch by students at the French Culinary Institute. And as you stand next to it peering through the windows admiring the banisters on the stairway and old fashioned doors and shutters, you get a very strong aroma of top quality chocolate. It was all that I could do to keep myself from breaching the rope surrounding the property’s perimeter and biting a chunk out of the roof!
Hands-On Chocolate Making Demonstration – While this demonstration may not accurately depict how chocolate is made on a commercial level today, you get to see first hand how cocoa beans are transformed into paste and then formed into the chocolate we are used to seeing in our candy bars. If you’re standing close enough to the front, your odds are great that you’ll get a turn with the grinder and have some of the cocoa pods’ outer husks flitter onto your shirt.
Rum and Chocolate Pairings – Visit the Bacardi table and you’ll quickly learn that rums pair just the opposite with chocolates than wines with food. Light rums actually complement dark chocolates best while dark rums bring out the flavor of lighter milk chocolates You can’t have too many strong flavors competing with one another, can you?
Cocoa Husk Tisanes – Sharing a wide table overflowing with spices of every variety imported directly from around the world, you’ll discover a few baskets of loose tea mixed with cocoa hulls rounding out the offerings. Imagine not only sipping a cocoa infused black tea but steeping it mixed with chunks of the real deal. Now that’s a bold and flavorful brew for your morning commute!
Antique Chocolate Mold Collection – Imagine what it was like when it all began, before factories and mechanized
robots fused cooling liquid chocolate into edible and pretty looking morsels. Chocolate was poured by hand into metal molds that are now behind glass in a display case. Instead of production being measured by the second, in the 19th century, chocolate Santas had to be carefully removed by hand to retain all the intricate detail and then placed in the open air to fully dry.
Chocolate Fashion – Like most of the wardrobes that come out of the fashion world, these clothes aren’t made for wearing but they sure are perfect for gawking! If it’s hard to imagine eating royal robes and delicate slippers, it may not be so tough to fantasize about getting down on your hands and knees, crawling on all fours underneath the velvet rope, and wildly taking a chunk out of the lovely chocolate garter on the model’s lingerie to the left.
photos courtesy of Steve Mirsky