Last weekend I headed south to gorgeous medieval town of Óbidos for their yearly Festival Internacional de Chocolate. We were told the festival usually takes place in February, but this year they made it a little later so it coincided with the nicer spring weather. The festival is open for 3 weeks, from Thursday to Sunday, and tickets are available online or at the event for €5 - €8 for adults and €3 - €5 for children.
There were several different parts to the festival, including booths by Portuguese chocolatiers, cooking/baking classes for adults and children, actors dressed in chocolate costumes, displays by local shops, and two art shows featuring sculptures made from chocolate and cake. Because the Festival was so big, I'm breaking the images up into two posts. This first post concentrates on the amazing edible artwork created by Portuguese chefs and bakers that was on display in the two galleries.
The first gallery we entered contained highly detailed, extremely complex, artistic sculptures made entirely of chocolate. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate (frequently dyed many different shades): each one made by a team of artists. The greeter at the entrance of the gallery passed out surveys that asked each viewer to vote for the sculpture they liked best. It was a really difficult decision to make, since every single sculpture was amazing and looked like it was carved from stone. There were realistic and stylized statues, carved hearts, and even furniture made entirely from chocolate.
We even saw one of the artists repairing a statue that had been damaged with a small torch and an X-Acto knife.
After casting our vote and leaving the first gallery, we wandered over to the building where the classes were being held. Unfortunately, none of them were taking place by the time we arrived, but there was an amazing display of cake art on one of the floors. I don't know if the cake decorations are all made from chocolate or white chocolate, or if they're mainly comprised of sugar paste or marzipan, but they were insane. It reminded me of the polymer clay artists who make tiny food that looks so realistic, you just want to eat it.
So impressive! I can't imagine how long it must take to create one of these masterpieces. It makes me particularly happy when my two loves, art and food, combine.
There was so much more to the Chocolate Festival, which I'm still in the process of editing, but I will have more amazing photos to share with you soon. In the meantime, have a great weekend!