Bath Chocolate Festival

This lovely little treat took place in the gorgeous sandstone suntrap that is Milsom Place, a little complex of shops and restaurants in the heart of Bath. Thank goodness I didn’t give up chocolate for Lent, is all I can say (I gave up pasta, if you’re interested). Six different chocolatiers were there to display their goodies and tempt passers-by with free samples. I particularly loved the tangerine mousse by The Chocolatier (somehow sweeter and tangier than orange, and beautifully matched with deep dark chocolate) and the milk chocolate with honeycomb by Lick the Spoon, who are also currently running a pop-up shop in Milsom Place. Their Easter egg selection was really gorgeous, featuring beautiful designs that brought to mind art deco patterns and vintage prints. More than a little too expensive for me, unfortunately, but I’m sure you would get what you paid for! Chocolate Workhouse also had some amazing designs on display that looked more like gobstoppers than truffles, with vivid colours and patterns that the friendly chap behind the stall explained were created by spraying cocoa butter (first infused with colours and flavours) into a mould, to create a hard shell that can then be filled with ganache. To be honest, I thought they were a bit less appealing for the bright colours, but I couldn’t help admiring the originality.

I was slightly less convinced by the offerings from Elements for Life, a company that extols the virtues of ‘raw chocolate’. Essentially, their message is that raw cacao contains a lot of nutrients which are subsequently lost during the commercial chocolate-making process, which involves several rounds of heating and cooling. I was interested to learn more about the subject, but I really didn’t like the taste of their finished dark chocolate product – I thought it was just plain bitter, without any of the richness that makes dark chocolate so nice – so I think I’d rather stick to chocolate which isn’t so good for me! Another company that didn’t quite convince me was Chocacao – I was intrigued to try their dark chocolate infused with lavender, but the taste was an odd, rather than pleasant, surprise.

I finished up with a cup of churros from Churros Garcia – which I must confess was what really attracted me to the festival, because I love churros. These didn’t disappoint: they were crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle, with a generous dusting of sugar, although I did find the chocolate dipping sauce slightly bitter. I could hardly complain though – the combination of delicious free goodies and warm sunshine left me very content. Keep an eye out for the next chocolate festival and go if you can – it’s well worth it!