For the third year running, following the success of previous editions, Brussels is hosting the Salon du Chocolat from 5th to 7th February 2016, for another celebration of Belgian chocolate. It will be held at Palais 1 of Brussels Expo for an especially flavoursome 2016 edition which will bring over 80 participants together – chocolatiers, patissiers, confectioners, chefs, pastry chefs, designers and cocoa experts. The Salon du Chocolat is the world’s largest event dedicated to chocolate and cocoa. Created 21 years ago in Paris, by Sylvie Douce and François Jeantet, it is held in the world’s major cities, across all four corners of the Earth. The Mondial du Chocolat et du Cacao® is continuing its international tour, with about twenty events scheduled worldwide, and new destinations such as Milan.
Cocoa Expressions, Chocolate Innovations
The theme for the new edition, “Cocoa Expressions, Chocolate Impressions”, will focus on current trends in the world of chocolate and pastry and will celebrate the creativity, avant-gardism and capacity to innovate of a whole profession. Of really noticeable trends, that of “bean to bar” will be given pride of place at this 3rd edition. Starting out in the United States in the nineties, the “bean to bar” trend has seen increasing success in Europe: a growing interest that fits in the general tendency to observe expertise, authenticity and traceability.
Some passionate chocolatiers are no longer content to use merely couverture chocolate, but have decided to get right to the roots and select their own cocoa beans from plantations, on the quest for unique soils and flavours. Just as with wine, every region which produces cocoa in fact has unique characteristics when it comes to taste; more specifically, every plantation has something which is unique to it, rather like a “château” in the middle of a vineyard. These taste artists then inspect the way the beans are processed, especially the tricky torrefaction stage, for complete mastery of all flavours, to pass them on to chocolate lovers in unique creations.
This year, the Salon du Chocolat will inaugurate a new space: “Les Espoirs du Chocolat” (“The Promising Young Talents”). The Show’s philosophy is indeed to promote the profession and highligth the new generation of talented chocolatiers and patissiers. The Hopefuls selected include the young chocolatière Euphrasie Mbamba de Sigoji, whose creations are inspired both by Belgian culture and by the raw materials from her native Cameroon.
A permanent show accessible to all
For 3 days, the Show will be putting on a comprehensive programme of fun and educational events for children and grown-ups alike.
The Chocolate Fashion Show: this is on the theme of carnival, on which chocolatiers and designers are working in duo, to present a festive and tempting 2016 collection. The creations will be unveiled as a preview at an exclusive invitation-only Gala evening on Thursday 4th February, and presented to the public at a unique show scheduled at 5:00 p.m. daily from 5thto 7th February. The Belgian talents on show this year include: Laurent Gerbaud & Patou Saint Germain, Nadia Flecha Guazo (Chokolate) & Débora Velasquez, Conte de Fèves – Céline Bouzegza & Nathalie Stockman, Valentino & Sixtine Anne de Molina, Ducobu & l’Atelier Lannaux, Didier Smeets, Leonidas, Jean-Philippe Darcis, Chocolaterie Bruyerre, Van Dender and Callebaut.
Recipe demonstrations: on the podium of the “Pastry Show”, the greatest chefs, pastry chefs and master chocolatiers will relay every hour to present, live, their best chocolate recipes and share their professional tips with the public. Names already mentioned: Christophe Hardiquest (Bonbon), Laury Zioui (L’Éveil des Sens), Eric Fernez (D’Eugénie à Émilie), Eric Martin (Maison Lemonnier), Sang-Hoon Degeimbre (L’Air du Temps & San), Maxime Collin (La Villa Lorraine), Benoît De Witte (Benoît et Bernard De Witte), Alexandre Dionisio (La Villa in the sky), Hendrik Dierendonck (Carcasse) in duo with Dominique Persoone, Steven Vandeparre, Van Dender, Julien Lapraille, Fabrice Collignon, Arnaud Champagne, Joost Arijs, Maison Pierre Marcolini, Paul Wittamer, … This year, the three days of recipe demonstrations are sponsored by Couplet Sugars.
Conferences and tastings: visitors will perfect their knowledge and explore all of the subtleties of cocoa, at conferences hosted by chocolate experts and aficionados, at the “Chocosphère”.
- Combining Chocolate & Health with the concept of “Hippocratonomie” in the presence of the starred chef Arabelle Meirlaen and Professor Vincent Castronovo, Oncologist and Senologist at the University of Liège.
- Pairing Wine & Chocolate: let’s explore new paths! with Patrick Bottcher, Chronicler and author of Tronche de vins.
- Beer & Chocolate with Laurent Gerbaud, Jean Hummler (Moeder Lambic) and the Brasserie Cantillon.
- The bean to bar trend through several conferences by Alice Voisin, El Sauco and Benoît Nihant.
- Belgian Chocolate: tradition and innovation with contributions from Paul Wittamer and Jist Heyninck.
- History & Chocolate with Nikita Harwich, Member of the French Chocolate and Confectionery Academy.
- The Lands of cocoa with a conference on the Cunas Indians hosted by Eddy van Belle (Choco-Story Brussels).
Workshops: visitors will have the opportunity to participate actively through a variety of pastry workshops, hosted by Les secrets du Chef and Conte de Fèves. On his stand, the chocolatier Jean-Philippe Darcis will offer not-to-be-missed Master Classes to pastry lovers, including sampling. And those aged 6-12 will enjoy workshops specially designed for them in “Chocoland”, hosted by La Route Belge du Chocolat.
Book signings: in partnership with the famous Brussels bookshop Filigranes, the Show will offer visitors the chance to see the latest cookery literature and have recently published books on gastronomy, chocolate and pâtisserie signed. The authors present at the signing sessions will include: Arabelle Meirlaen (Ma Cuisine intuitive, Éditions Gabriel), Hendrik Dierendonck (Mange Bruxelles, Sh-op Éditions), Julien Lapraille (Ne m’appelez pas Chef !, Génération W Éditions), …
Exhibitions and happenings: Leonidas will be celebrating fashion through a giant 4.20-metre-high sculpture, designed by the artist-chocolatier Jean-Luc Decluzeau. The work will represent a mannekin of a woman entirely knife-sculpted in a 500 kg block of chocolate. The sculpture will be sublimated with a lustre of chocolate 2 metres high and 1.20 metres wide, adorned with several tens of pieces of Swarovski crystal.
The Choco-Story Brussels museum will host an exhibition at the heart of the Show, plus many animations in partnership with La Route Belge du Chocolat: introduction to tasting of hot chocolate, magic tricks and chocolate massages. New this year: guides will take small groups of visitors around for a mini-guided tour of the exhibition, with sampling breaks at the stands of several chocolatiers. Also worth seeing in the area: the official launch onto the Belgian market of the Encyclopaedia of Chocolate and Confectionery, a reference work, the fruit of ten years’ works and research by the French Chocolate and Confectionery Academy.
And many other surprises to be explored on the exhibitors’ stands, such as Godiva, which will be celebrating its 90th anniversary at the Salon du Chocolat.
Tokyo: 26-31 January 2016, NS Building
Kyoto: 27 January – 14 February 2016, JR Kyoto Isetan
Osaka: 27 January – 14 February 2016, JR Osaka Mitsukoshi Isetan
Fukuoka: 28 January – 14 February 2016, Iwataya
Sapporo: 31 January – 14 February 2016, Marui Imai
Nagoya: 31 January – 7 February 2016, Mitsukoshi
Sendai: 2-14 February 2016, Mitsukoshi
Brussels: 5-7 February 2016, Brussels Expo
Milan: 13-15 February 2016, The Mall
Moscow: 5-8 March 2016, Expocentre
London: 14-16 October 2016, Olympia National Hall
Paris: 28 October – 1 November 2016, Porte de Versailles
Lyon: 11-13 November 2016, Centre de Congrès – Cité Internationale
Seoul: 19-22 January 2017