Countdown to Zürich’s Chocolate Event of the Year (+ ticket giveaway !)
What exactly happened to February is a bit of a mystery. It somehow passed by in the blink of an eye, lost in a flurry of deadlines, diapers and a whole lot of chocolate. (Not complaining at all.) And now here we are in March, which in Zürich is a confusing ping pong game of long gray wintery days and rejuvenating sunny spring ones. Whatever the weather, March is a time to indulge. In chocolate, that is. It’s time for Zürich’s second annual Salon du Chocolat, March 22-24 at the Messe in Oerlikon. Who’s ready ?!
Once again, the Messe will be turned into an absolute chocolate extravaganza for three days, with upwards of 50 tempting stands and tons of animations and things to do and see – and taste, but of course. You’ll recognize plenty of familiar faces – your local favorites alongside discoveries you may have made at last year’s event. Eric’s Confiserie Baumann and Say Chocolate here in Zürich will be joining big names like Sprüngli, Beschle and Läderach. You’ll have chocolate brands you may know from your travels around Switzerland all under one roof: Suteria, Hot-Xocolatl, Confiserie Speck, Les Délices de la Ruche and Praliné Scherrer, to name just a few. Goufrais and Manouga will cross the border from Germany to join us, as well as French neighbors Maison Boissier, Comptoir du Cacao and… I am so happy to say, Pâtisserie Sadaharu Aoki will be in Zürich too ! You can be sure Aoki will bring his infectious smile, Japanese style pastries and signature colored ganache rectangles (below, bottom right. And that’s him further below on the right too).
With Easter not far away, I’m looking forward to seeing what amazing creations Thomas Müller, Chocolaterie du Rhône and Merz will have once again at their stands. A feast for the eyes it always is. This is especially true for visitors this year, as we have a special added bonus for you all… access to the globally renowned chocolate fashion show ! We pair up a chocolatier and a designer to create an actual chocolate dress; and not just for display, models will work the runway in these totally fabulous and fascinating creations (everyday at 17.00). There’s also a new Atelier Pâtisserie, Librairie Gourmande, chocolate sculptures, Chocoland for kids and more !
During the show, you’ll most likely see me running back and forth between Chocodémo (live performances of a dessert) and Chocosphère (conferences/tastings/presentations). And if you can’t find me, I may just be backstage at the Culinary Theater tasting the desserts–I mean, making sure the pastry chefs have everything they need. I’ve put together a schedule of demos and conferences with something for everyone… you can learn how to pair chocolate with wine, single malt whisky and even beer. You can hear from chocolatier Fabian Rimann himself how he comes up with such unique flavors of pralines. And listen to chocolatier/designer pairs talk about how on earth they made those chocolate dresses. Feel free to ask them how those dresses don’t melt !
We’ve got a truly stellar lineup of demos this year ! David Pasquiet of L’Instant Chocolat, Swiss Chocolate Master 2013 will be there, as will Claudia Schmid, who held that title in 2011. Come and wish David “bonne chance” for the World Chocolate Masters in Paris in October. 2013 Swiss finalists Sébastien Eckler of Basel’s Hotel Les Trois Rois and Jean-Baptiste Jolliet of Guignard Desserts in Orbe will have our mouths watering for sure. Tobias Buholzer (below, top left) will show us how he makes Münsterhof’s signature chocolate cake, while Manuela Hasler and Pascal Haag (below, bottom left) will reveal the secrets behind Hiltl’s famous brownie. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the Widder Hotel’s “Moroccan Milky Way” ! (Last year, Chef Lamkhizni’s “Moroccan Bomb” was perhaps my personal favorite dessert at the salon.)
Still want more temptation ?
Lots of new faces will be up on stage this year, including Badrutt’s Palace pastry chef Stefan Gerber, Julien Leroy of Restaurant Benoit Violier in Crissier and the new pastry chef of mesa restaurant in Zürich, Patrick Reiterer.
How about that gorgeous plate of chocolate, kamalansi and yogurt that Marcel Schmitutz is holding (below left) ? He’ll show you how to make that and share his philosophy of showcasing fruit in chocolate desserts. I was lucky enough to taste his current dessert menu at Clouds, in the Prime Tower, Zürich’s “skyscraper”. The plates are simply beautiful (take a look at what he does with mango, bottom right) and the desserts so fresh and full of imagination and precision. Nick Malgieri and Brian Jäger, my sweet buddies and lunch dates, were wowed at his combinations of ingredients (chocolate/pumpkin/orange or cassis/beetroot/Prosecco/muscovado). And we are all still thinking about his “Waldorf Salad,” an ingenious mix of celery, apple, nuts and sour cream in dessert form. I’d be tempted to go back just to order that salad, one bowl all for me – and not have to share it with two curiously hungry men. Both of whom will be at the Salon du Chocolat too; you can listen to Brian speak about trends in high-end pastry in Switzerland and taste Nick’s Old-Fashioned Devil’s Food Cake.
And now, last but certainly not least, how about winning a free ticket to this absolutely delicious event ?! Simply let me know your favorite Swiss chocolate – be it a bar, confection, brand, shop or type of chocolate. I’ll put numbered pieces of paper for as many comments there are into a hat and have my assistant (baby girl) grab 10. *Ten free tickets good for an entire day of chocolate fun and indulgence, from March 22nd to March 24th.* (Wish that could come with a free plane ticket for my readers outside of Switzerland, sorry !)
And wait, it gets even better… the most passionate chocolate response of all will win a ticket (good for two people) to the VIP inaugural soirée on Thursday evening, March 21st (not open to the public).
So let’s hear your sweet Swiss favorites. I’ll announce the winners here on Tuesday, March 19th. And then… see you at the Salon !
Salon du Chocolat Zürich
From Friday March 22 to Sunday March 24
Messe Zürich, Halle 5
Wallisellenstrasse 49, Oerlikon
Adults: CHF 18
Children (6-12 years old): CHF 9
Children under 6: free