In London, a Festival for Chocolate Lovers

A lifelong lover of chocolate, Yael Rose is as happy sipping a cup of hot chocolate as she is nibbling sea-salted caramel or cocoa nibs. “To be honest, I think it’s an addiction,” she said. “There’s something about the smell and colors of chocolate I simply can’t resist every single time.”

Ms. Rose has turned her passion into a profession, as director of The Chocolate Festival, an ongoing affair that takes place in Brighton, London and Oxford around Christmas and Easter. From Dec. 9 to 11, the festival will descend on London’s Southbank Center Square (Belvedere Road), a celebration of all things chocolate.

The festival, which is mostly free, will feature more than 30 stalls selling and sampling chocolate in various forms, from hot chocolate and artisan truffles to chocolate chili. Plenty of recipes and prizes will be on hand. Visitors can also chat with British chocolatiers like William Curley, Bill McCarrick, Damian Allsop and Paul Wayne Gregory about how to become a more discerning taster, and learn about chocolate’s health benefits and other uses.

A series of free tutored tastings, talks and demonstrations will be available over all three days in the Chocolate Cookery Theater, coordinated by the chef and culinary expert Valentina Harris. Luminaries of the chocolate world, including Chantal Coady, the founder of Rococo Chocolates; the food writer and author Rachel de Thample; the chef Steve Walpole; and the “Scandilicious” author Signe Johansen. Demonstrated recipes will include chocolate jelly and desserts devoid of gluten, wheat, dairy and sugar.

During a “Masters of Chocolate” Day on Dec. 10, for £5 (about $7.75), visitors can learn professional cooking techniques and recipes, and attend tutored tastings and demonstrations from Rococo Chocolate and Sir Hans Sloane Chocolate.

“Even when I am at the festival, after days of eating chocolate, I find it hard to resist if a chocolatier offers me a taste,” Ms. Rose said.

The full story is at the NEW YORK TIMES

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