What do you get when you have lots and lots of chocolate in the one place? Lots and lots of people. The Smooth Chocolate Festival saw foodies, families and chocoholics alike swarming the Rocks and Circular Quay areas for some chocolatey deliciousness. I couldn’t believe the amount of people at this festival – it seemed to be in the tens of thousands. It’s incredible how far the humble cacao bean has come since its discovery four thousand years ago (note: The True History of Chocolate is a great book if you want a detailed examination on the history of chocolate from it’s earliest pre-Columbian roots to modern times).
We just love our chocolate.
It was my first time at the Smooth Chocolate Festival. The festival was first hosted last year and according to a friend, this year’s edition was actually bigger and better – I don’t know how much better it was this time around, but it certainly was bigger than what I had in mind.
To be honest, I didn’t have huge expectations of the event, or for any mainstream food event for that matter. For those living a plant-based lifestyle, it’s often hard to find vegan-friendly foods in these sorts of events. But, on this occasion, I was able to try quite a lot of foods and chocolate at this festival so I was fairly happy.
It was a lovely day in Sydney, the weather was definitely on our side (I think God is partial to chocolate, too) and I thoroughly enjoyed the different arrays of food businesses at this event. The event was spread out over eight different locations: First Fleet Park, Circular Quay Way, Tallawolladah Lawn (the lawn in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art), Chocolatier’s Quarters in Cargo Hall of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Campbell’s Cove, Atherden Street, Argyle Street, and Playfair Street.
I started my festival escapade strolling along Argyle Street, sampling a number of 80 Raw 20 Paleo granolas, and treating myself to a huge smoothie, a.k.a. ‘The Hulk’ from The Smoothie Co before venturing down to Circular Quay.
There were over 90 individual stalls so there was no way you could physically check out all of them. There also was a queue at some of the stalls, especially the The Lindt Lounge and the Chocolatier’s Quarters. I didn’t go to the Lindt Lounge but I did go to the Chocolatier’s Quarters, and it was my favourite section of the whole event. I was mind-blown by how many delicious, high quality, vegan friendly chocolates there were.
There were Little Zebra Chocolates offering sugar-free chocolate made with Xylitol (all their dark chocolates are vegan); Girl Made Chocolate which gives Pana Chocolate a run for their money in the raw, vegan, organic chocolate bar space (their chili chocolate is amazing); Cacaoette (simply amazing artisanal organic chocolates, also with plenty of vegan options); and Chocolate Tea (a revolutionary tea made of cacao bean shells which taste like you’re drinking chocolate), and many more noteworthy stalls.
There also were some incredible chocolate arts on display: pastry chef Dean Gibson created a pumpkin head scare-crow and an echidna using chocolate, and artist James Patrick created a painting using Lindt chocolate balls and wrappers (check out James’ behind the scene clip in his YouTube channel).
On the side, there also were plenty of what I would call ‘supporting’ stalls, because one cannot not live on chocolate alone (okay, perhaps one could, but why would one need to?) There were savoury food stalls such as Fratelli Fresh, Gourmet Gozleme and Thaiinabox, and beers and ciders galore (Bilpin Cider Co. Garden Bar deserves a special mention with the coolest garden bar setting).
Overall it was a thoroughly mindblowing event, both in its very large scale and many different features and attractions. There was something for everyone, even for the most discerning chocolate connoisseur, a health conscious foodie, or in my case, a vegan with an alarmingly sweet tooth.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”― Charles M. Schulz
P.S. This is is my Day 1 and 2 of the #300wordsaday challenge which I’m doing throughout the month of October with Sydney Passion Bloggers. We’re essentially a community group for bloggers who resides in Sydney (though you don’t have to live in Sydney to join). Me and a few other bloggers re doing this challenge to cultivate daily writing habit. It’s challenging (especially in weekends), but I’m enjoying it so far. Check our our group Sydney Passion Bloggers on Facebook to find out more about what we do and this particular challenge.