In addition to the art shows I mentioned previously, the entire town of Óbidos was decorated with candy sculptures, streamers and large hearts. Each year the Chocolate Festival has a theme, and this year it was love which explains the multiple depictions of star-crossed lovers and the huge foil-wrapped candy hearts on many of the medieval town's buildings.
As always, the ginja stands were out, selling tiny chocolate cups filled with the sweet cherry liquor Óbidos (and Portugal in general) is famous for.
There were even a few "chocolate people" roaming around, interacting with festival-goers.
Apparently there were some chocolate and baking classes and demos that were taking place (including classes for children) but we missed them. However, we definitely couldn't miss the amazing local artisanal chocolate vendors inside one of the buildings. In the entrance were two huge chocolate hearts and once you headed down the stairs, a world of chocolate noms were spread out in front of you. My only regret was that I didn't buy more of the amazing candy and baked goods available for sale.
There was even a woman selling these little glass jars filled with different kinds of cake! It feels like a million years since I've had red velvet cake (that's not really a thing over here in Portugal) so I had to partake. This business is called Love In Glass and their Facebook page says they are based in Cascais.
The most amazing thing I tried however, were the vegan truffles from Casa do Bosque. I hate to say it, but I haven't always had the best experience with vegan desserts, especially vegan chocolates. After my husband told me I had to try one of their truffles, I was blown away. They were better than most of the non-vegan truffles I've had and I really hope at some point they start selling them in their online store. All this talking about them is making me want to nom a few right now!
The Óbidos gift shop was also filled with giant sculptures of noms, chocolate themed merchandise, and of course, more chocolate. I don't know if it's like this year round, or if the decorations are just up for the festival, but it was a great place to buy chocolates or other gifts for the chocoholics in your life.
Outside of the main festival area near the castle walls, folks had set up booths selling even more chocolate and baked goods.
There were also several groups of people with owls and parrots, selling photographs of people with the birds for €10 each. I took a couple photos before I was told I needed to pay if I wanted a photo of the birds. I eventually forked over €10 for a horrible picture of myself with an owl to an impatient young man who insisted I hurry up and hold the bird because others were waiting. When I asked if I could photograph a few other birds after I'd paid, he told me I had to pay €10 for each bird I wanted to take a picture of. Nope, not gonna happen. I left feeling a bit weird about the whole experience and hoping I'd contributed to something decent that wasn't taking advantage of the birds.
And of course, where there are birds there are cats...
After filling our bellies and spending some time walking it off atop the castle walls, we took our leave of the Chocolate Festival and headed back to our hotel in Caldas da Rainha. It was a wonderful event and a great excuse to spend more time in lovely Óbidos.