“Let them eat cake”, the ill-fated queen said. Surely she meant chocolate cake. Chocolate-drizzled pastries. Chocolate mousse. Heck, even chocolate gowns. Chocolate in every shape, form, and texture imaginable. If your taste buds are giving you a nudge, all you have to do is head over to the 25th Salon du Chocolat, which will be welcoming you with cocoa-dusted open arms at Porte de Versailles between October 30 – November 3rd.
Now, 25 years of delicious chocolatey existence is something to celebrate. The organizers, Sylvie Douce and François Jeantet, have added a few innovative and exciting attractions, alongside popular fixtures from years past. A new pastry area, under the patronage of illustrious chef Philippe Conticini, will spread over 2,500 sqm and host live demos, tastings, and exhibits – think fabulous Bûches de Noël, the traditional French Christmas cakes, among others. You will have the chance to meet and greet some of the most famous protagonists of the French pâtisserie scene, and watch live demonstrations of their skills as well, as they will be creating masterpieces live in the new pastry lab. Adjacent to that is Cake Time, another new area functioning as a pop-up tea salon which will be hosting a different celebrity pastry team each day, making regional specialties like gauffres, Kouign-amann, or Lou Pisadou.
If pastries are not your cuppa, you have plenty of other options to choose from. There is a full line-up of chocolate and cacao conferences, where you can catch up on trends and hot topics affecting the industry. Or, if shopping for a new cookbook is on your agenda, make sure you stop by the Librairie Gourmande. The Salon’s bookstore will have plenty to choose from, including new releases such as Angelo Musa’s autobiography/recipe collection, Ma Promesse. Musa, a Meilleur Ouvrier de France and World Pastry Champion, is currently in charge of an entire team creating otherworldly delights at the upscale Hôtel Plaza Athénée. He will be demonstrating a chocolate coffee tart recipe on November 2nd, to coincide with the book launch – a perfect occasion to get your book autographed.
In a traditionally male-dominated industry, there has been a gentle but constant rise of feminine talent. An entire area, aptly named Elles, will be dedicated to the brightest female stars of the chocolate and pastry world, hosting names such as Mitsuha Letuppe, Emiko Sano, Vicki Bain, and Christelle Brua.
Parents, don’t leave the little ones at home. The Salon Junior, now in its 5th year, will be back with new workshops and activities for children, offering them a hands-on immersion into the chocolate realm.
And for all of you fashionistas out there, the sensational all-chocolate fashion show returns with an ambitious presentation, illustrating 500 years of cocoa history through edible couture and daring design.
The Salon will conclude with the coronation of this year’s pastry king or queen, the International French Pastry Trophy being awarded on November 3rd at 4pm. And whoever the lucky recipient is, we can all hope that he or she will declare once more, “let them eat cake.”