Friday, 4 November 2011

Choco-Laté, Bruges (BE)

Today I got to experience one of the perks of living in Belgium ànd being a blogger: I'd been invited to the press event of Choco-Laté, the chocolate festival in Bruges.

Choco-Laté is a festival aimed at professionals, devoted chocolate fans ànd more casual ones. As a self-proclaimed healthy hedonist and passionate chocolate lover, I have been there in the past and I can testify it's a treat, a true feast for the senses.

This year's edition will focus on chocolate in its purest form: the origins of the cacao bean, organic fair-trade chocolate and authentic recipes prepared on the spot by representatives of the Kuna people of Panama.

Choco-Laté organiser Eddy Van Belle,
chocolatier Dominique Persoone and
representatives of the Kuna people.
The Kuna people have featured in several medical reports because of the absence of high blood pressure among them and remarkably low death rates from stroke, cancer or cardiovascular disease. This might be linked to their cocoa-rich diet, which is an interesting path for further research.
But I digress.

At this festival you can discover visually stunning chocolate art, learn about the origins, production, health and wellness benefits of chocolate, sample chunks and nuggets at a wide variety of exhibitor booths, or get your hands dirty (and lick them clean again) in truffle-making workshops. All this takes place in a unique historic location, permeated with the rich, velvety scent of more kinds of chocolate than you and I knew existed.

Trust me, it's not an event you want to miss.

'Choco en Lala'
book cover chocolates
The parents among you don't need to find a babysitter. Take your kids along and drop them off at the Choco Kids Village, where they can play and learn about chocolate while you indulge in more adult activities.

Allow me to make a few suggestions: find the perfect wine to go with chocolate, design the perfect cocoa drink or watch the bodypainting artists at work - with chocolate!

When you're at the festival, be sure to drop by author Marc de Bel's booth. At Choco-Laté 2011 he will present his new chocolate-themed children's book: 'Spikkel en Spekkie: Choco en Lala'.

'Bruges swan'
chocolate dress.
At first sight, fashion and (calorie-dense) chocolate might not be a good match, but this year even fashionistas will be able to indulge.

Star designer Nicky Vankets has teamed up with my favourite 'shock-o-latier' Dominique Persoone to design a fabulous 'Bruges swan' chocolate dress.

so want one. Or two: one to wear and one to eat.
But I digress again.

Choco-Laté 2011 will take place at the Bruges belfry from 11th till 13th November.

For more information and tickets, go to:

If you can't make those dates, do not despair. Bruges has 52 (hyper)active chocolatiers, who sell their scrumptious creations all year round.

On top of that, until 8 December 2011, the city of Bruges celebrates "Choc'in Brugge" - chocolate month, if you will, with gastronomic events, chocolate-themed city walks, chocolate wellness and much more. You can find the programme here.

Last but not least, if you live too far and can't make it to Belgium this year, have some great chocolate wherever you are and consider stopping by in the future.
When you do, drop me a line and I'd be happy to point out a number of places that are worth a visit.

Have a choc-o-licious November!

Bonus picture. From left to right:
shock-o-latier Dominique Persoone, fashion designer Nicky Vankets
and yours truly, plotting an escape with the dress.
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