Saturday, September 27, 2014

smooth Festival of Chocolate - next weekend

As part of this year's Good Food Month (starting this coming Wednesday), a sweet new festival is launching next weekend in The Rocks. The smooth Festival of Chocolate will be a two-day festival dedicated to everyone's favourite chocolate.

smooth Festival of Chocolate, 4-5 October 2014, The Rocks, Sydney
(Food, Booze & Shoes received the above chocolate hamper as a gift from Smooth FM and Nova Entertainment)
Sounding of The Rocks Aroma Festival ilk, hotels, restaurants, patisseries, ice creameries and chocolatiers will come together throughout The Rocks and Circular Quay over the two days to showcase chocolate products and sweets.

Large caramel milk chocolate freckle pop by Peacock Chocolates
There will be entertainment too: a smooth music stage, a test kitchen stage featuring chef demonstrations every hour, a pop up bar and even artists painting with chocolate, while neaby restaurants and hotels will also be incorporating chocolate items into their menus all throughout Good Food Month.

At smooth Festival of Chocolate will be Jean-Michel Raynaud, executive pastry chef of Baroque Bistro
and La Renaissance, The Rocks, Sydney

(Image courtsey of Nova Entertainment)
We caught up with executive pastry chef of Baroque Bistro and La Renaissance, Jean-Michel Raynaud ahead of next weekend's sweet-tooth festivities.

FBS: What is your favourite way to enjoy chocolate? 
For me, chocolate is about childhood memories. The most enjoyable way for me to enjoy chocolate is as I did when I was a kid: cut open a baguette, butter each side and fill with squares of chocolate straight off a block - the original pain au chocolat!

FBS: What is your favourite ingredient to cook and pair with chocolate? 
I like playing with fruit pulps and juices to add depth of flavours and complexity to an otherwise plain chocolate.

My favourite, though, is to make bitter dark chocolate ganache with salted caramel - the salt balances both the bitterness of the chocolate and burnt sugars, whilst the caramel gives your cream an amazing chewy texture.

FBS: What are your thoughts on savoury chocolate dishes? 
I am a big fan but as with everything else, before attempting to do anything savoury with chocolate, you must first understand how to balance the taste inherent in your dish - any mistake will be unforgiving.

FBS: What type of alcoholic beverage do you think best matches with chocolate? 
Lots of alcoholic beverages work with chocolate, but none so much as Grand Marnier. The orange flavours and peppery undertones work fantastically with a dark, single origin chocolate whilst more flagrant beverages, such as Pastis or Frangelico, work best with sweeter chocolate like milk or white

FBS: What are your highlights and picks of next weekend's smooth Festival of Chocolate events?
Come and check Julia Taylor (ex-Masterchef runner up and current pastry chef at La Renaissance) and my demo and definitely come and see a great chocolate artisan in Dean Gibson.

Overall though, the whole festival is going to be a celebration of all that is chocolate, so well worth checking out.

The smooth Festival of Chocolate is on next weekend, 4-5 October 2014 in The Rocks, Sydney.

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