Hey chocolate lovers, we know that Chocolate Week is like Christmas for you. So for Chocolate Week this year (11-17th October), we’ve put together a few other things that you could do to celebrate. In case you are not au fait with Chocolate Week, it is a week full of chocolate related events ending with Chocolate Unwrapped at the Vinopolis. You can also read the pick of Chocolate Week Treats here.
- Artisan du Chocolat will be running a ‘bean to bar’ day at their Kent atelier on the 9th of October. This is a little ahead of Chocolate Week but it is a very special event because for the very first time, they will attempt to make 300kg of chocolate from Jamaican beans on site. This means all the roasting, winnowing, grinding, conching and refining. You can book in for the event for free by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and telling her why you should be invited. Of course if you can’t attend this, Artisan du Chocolat are also hosting free tastings of their bean to bar chocolate at their shops in Westbourne Grove, Lower Sloane street and Selfridges, Oxford Street.
- William Curley will be setting up shop at Claridge’s on the 15th and 17th of October to spread his wisdom on truffle making and seasalt caramels. With classes at £100 per person, you can expect to walk away with some truly extraordinary chocolates. Call 0207 409 6307 to book. If that’s a bit pricey then you can still enjoy some William Curley specials during the rest of the week for Claridge’s Afternoon Tea or at one of his London stores. William also runs truffle master classes and other bespoke tutorials at his London stores, POA.
- If you just fancied a hand at making chocolates at home, why not pick up a chocolate making kit from ChocChick? One pack has everything you need to make basic chocolate bars or get creative and add your own special ingredients. Kits are from £11.99 and are available on www.chocchick.com.
- How could Chocolate Week be complete without some tea? On the 9th of October, Smugglers in Cornwall will be hosting a tasting master class with a three course dinner, wine and petit fours for £85 per head. The tea will be supplied by Tregothnan Teas, the only producer growing tea in England, and the chocolates are from Demarquette. Call 01872 520000 to book for the event.
- Richmond’s Michelin-starred restaurant, The Bingham, will be serving up a chocolate themed gala dinner to launch Chocolate Week on the 11th of October. The menu is a collaboration between the restaurant’s executive chef Shay Cooper and chocolatier William Curley and is available for £120 per head. For the rest of the week until the 16th of October, there will be a tasting menu at only £65 per head. Visit www.thebingham.co.uk to book.
- For a dinner with a different, food journalist and author Sudi Pigott will be hosting a chocolate quiz at Northbank Restaurant, London, on the 12th of October. Tickets are £30 per head and includes a three course meal plus a glass of wine. Call 0207 329 9299 to book.
- There are more than a few Chocolate Afternoon Teas around for Chocolate Week but there is only one which is available all year round. The Hilton, Park Lane, serves up a delicious one called ‘Confessions of a Chocoholic’ with open sandwiches, chocolate tea pots and chocolate chip scones. The selection is usually dark chocolate based but for Chocolate Week only, they are changing their entire selection to milk chocolate. For only £25 per head, call 0207 208 4022 to book.
- Harrod’s Wine Shop have teamed up with Godiva to do chocolate and rum tastings in-store on the 12th of October with UK Rum ambassador Ian Burrell. Call 0207 893 8777 to book. If you have to miss out, they also do a Godiva Rum ‘n’ Reason selection box.
- K West Hotel & Spa, London, have created five chocolate cocktails – Liquid Bounty, Choconana, Jaffatini, Peppermint Crisp, Raspberry Blush. At only £5 each, they are a real treat. For more information go to www.k-west.co.uk.
Free chocolate tastings:
- Fortnum & Mason will be hosting tastings of chocolates by Master Chocolatier Marc Demarquette throughout Chocolate Week. You can sample one of the seven flavours from the Orient Collection in store and even meet the man himself on the 14th of October.
- La Maison du Chocolat are hosting a series of chocolate tastings at their Picadilly and Harrods stores during Chocolate Week. They have also launched a limited edition chocolate box which contains Caracas, a plain cocoa ganache with hints of grilled almonds and spices, and Extreme chocolat, an 100 % pure cocoa ganache with notes of roasted coffee, just for Chocolate Week.
- Harvey Nichols will be hosting hot chocolate sampling with Choc-o-lait at selected stores on the 16th of October. Choc-o-lait is the Belgian company which makes chocolate sticks which you simply dip into hot milk and stir to create tasty hot chocolate. They will also have a number of other Chocolate Week events in store but will vary according to location.
- For some light reading, Food and Travel magazine are doing a chocolate themed November issue with exclusive chocolate recipes from Marcus Wareing. Of course if you have more time, you could always enjoy Sarah Jane Evan’s new book, Chocolate Unwrapped: Taste and enjoy the world’s finest chocolate.
- Young’s have used their Double Chocolate Stout to create some chocolate brownie recipes. Why not give it a go at home? We have the recipe here.
- And last but not least, the UK national selection for the World Chocolate Masters takes place at this year’s Restaurant Show, London, on the 11th and 12th of October. The contestants have to create works of art according to the theme ‘Cocoa Quetzalcoatl’s Gift’. For more information, visit www.worldchocolatemasters.com. The event is held at a trade show so if you have anything to do with the restaurant industry, register here: www.therestaurantshow.co.uk.