Every Fall, the best event of the year takes place: the Chocolate Show. Or, as EIC Jennifer Wright and I like to call it, “CHOCOLATTTTTTTTTTTE SHOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW.” Basically, a bunch of vendors fill up the Metropolitan Pavillion in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, lay out their chocolate-y wares in festive booths and politely demand you eat them. Without sounding like a chick lit cliche, it is fucking awesome.
Let’s take a look at what they had.
The first thing we ate were chocolate-covered marshmallows.
They don’t try to reinvent the wheel at the Chocolate Show.
2. Foodstuffs For Your Person
There’s always some purveyor of food-themed baubles (though non chocolate-specific vendors are few and far between). This year, we spotted these jam jar earrings amidst an array of other edible-looking jewelry, like ice cream cones and toasts. Precious indie fashion bloggers, take note.
3. Francois Payard
An ex got me a cake from Payard for my birthday a few years ago–the relationship didn’t work out, but the cake was righteous. Here are some chocolate bars of his, though they were also selling macarons and phenomenal double chocolate cookies.
4. Buzz Fudge
This is Buzz Fudge. They make alcohol-infused fudge. I can’t imagine you could get wasted off it, but you could definitely give yourself a terrible stomach-ache trying.
5. Chocolate Sculpture
Here’s a chocolate wine bottle. Look, as much as I love the Chocolate Show, they really dropped the ball on the chocolate sculpture front this year. Last year, a dude was carving a chocolate dragon before our eyes. It was tremendous. Maybe it’s just me, but I like dragons more than wine bottles.
[UPDATE: It is just me.]
6. Roni-Sue’s Pig Candy
Roni-Sue’s famous Pig Candy, AKA chocolate-covered bacon.
7. No Chewing Allowed
No Chewing Allowed makes soft, delicious French truffles and perversely sexual advertising materials.
8. Hudson Valley Naturals
We had to stop and look at these chocolates because they were so striking. I asked what was in them and the extremely polite young clerk hesitated, then asked if there was a sign beside them; indeed there was, but the French label said something like “d’Opium” and that didn’t illuminate much. Apparently they’re blood orange-flavored, which is to say, not filled with opium. So you can’t mix them with alcohol-infused fudge and get super fucked up. :(
Still, they sure are pretty.
9. Screme Gelato Creation
These people make crazy gelato flavors. Jennifer always makes a beeline for the caramel sea salt one; as you can see, it is caramel gelato stuffed with pretzel chips.
But it gets considerably more madcap after that:
I just like the idea of using a whole bottle of Patron as an ornament.
10. Jazz Brownies
When I see “Jazz” used as a modifier, I usually assume it means “filled with weed” (IE jazz cigarettes). Here I think it alludes to candied citrus peels and salted carmel.
MarieBelle has a shop in Soho and sells pretty bonbons (that look like they should be book covers for lady literature) and are famed for their hot chocolate.
12. Not-Chocolate Paintings
Jennifer and I came upon these canvases and got really excited because the guy working on them was stationed in exactly the same place as the chocolate dragon-carving hero of yesteryear. We had an excruciatingly awkward exchange with him, which went like this:
Me, gasping: Jennifer! He’s painting with chocolate!
Jennifer (to the painter): Oh my god, you’re painting with chocolate!
Painter: No. These are… just oil paints.
Both of us: Oh.
He then started telling us about his method but I think he deduced our massive disappointment. We kind of just backed away from each other.
Kind of misleading of him to paint in exclusively dark brown paint at a chocolate expo, though, I feel.
13. Peanut Butter & Co.
Countless New York kids have enjoyed a PB&J at this Greenwich Village stalwart. They make inventive and tasty flavored peanut butters.
Jennifer asked to try a spicy one–which struck me as odd, because she’s one of those people who doesn’t like spicy foods–and she swallowed it as the guy was suggesting it be used for Thai cooking, etc.
She needed a chaser of a different flavor, because Jennifer is a big wuss.
14. John & Kira’s
These people did really pretty stuff, like the above caramels. And the below ladybugs…
Just more nice things, really.
However, it’s at this point that general sickness begins to set in and you have to slow down the inhalation of samples. All the fudge, truffles, bars, wine, hot chocolate and such starts to slosh together.
But you don’t regret it, is the point.
16. Eclat’s Good and Evil
Here is Eclat’s already infamous $18 blend of the “world’s rarest cocoa,” once thought to be extinct and made in collaboration with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert.
The whole thing initially struck me as pure sales gimmickry. Living in New York can desensitize you to dizzying prices (chocolate bars in my neighborhood start around $8) but I figured $18 was just flatly absurd.
…Still, I was surprised by how nice it was. I can’t tell you in good conscience that it’s worth $18, but if you have $18 to spend on a chocolate bar, it’s worth a try.
17. Sculpture of Nightmares
Here is a terrifying cake.
Made all the more terrifying by the fact that there’s a huge hunk missing from poor Lucy’s midsection, Prometheus-style.
Here I am, looking like a smug prick. But I am actually just deeply unsettled!
18. Jean Luc Pele
Here are some handsome Frenchmen stirring ganache–a common scene at the Chocolate Show.
19. Choc & Nut
This shit is delicious–it’s pretty much fancy Nutella without the chemicals. Really nice nut butters–cashew, hazelnut–with chocolate. They give you samples on slices of apple and make you feel like the luckiest second grader at the lunch table.
20. Salt of the Earth Bakery
This was my favorite vendor at the Chocolate Show last year. Their cookies are insane–take that with a grain of salt (HA!), because I’m not a huge plain chocolate chip cookie fan (oatmeal raisin, for the record).
Their new double chocolate cookies–also scattered with sea salt–were fantastic, too. Aren’t they beautiful?
But! The best taste of all at the Chocolate Show, in my opinion, is their “OMG brownie.” It’s the best brownie I’ve ever had: laced with thick, chewy caramel and then generously dusted with sea salt. It is absurdly delicious. These are little bite-sized samples, above.
21. Vincent Guerlais
Everything’s prettier at the Chocolate Show.
22. Les Cinq Amandes
Again, though, the ball was really dropped with respect to chocolate sculpting. The first year Jennifer and I attended, they had a fashion show in which all of the dresses were made of chocolate. Last year, they made characters from Broadway shows out of chocolate (like The Lion King). This year it was like, “here’s some stuff next to some other stuff. Maybe Autumn themes?”
I’m not saying anything at the Chocolate Show could cause complaint… I’m saying that they set the bar really high.
24. Aigner Chocolates
Here are some chocolate-dipped Oreos.
25. H.S. Chocolate Co.
It’s a sample pile of an awesome peanut butter chocolate bar.
26. Brigadeiro Palace
These are (white chocolate) Brigadeiros. They’re Brazilian bonbons and, if you’re into really sweet stuff, they’re awesome.
27. Spices & Tease
For those of you out there who’ve been reading along in the hopes that I was going to mention some spices, here you go.
This is Fretzels’. They dip pretzels in everything. As you probably deduced, I’m a fan of salty and sweet together more than just sweet, so I’m pretty into chocolate-covered pretzels.
On the way out, we grabbed a bunch of these chocolate-covered pretzel pieces, because that’s the kind of magical shit that happens at the Chocolate Show.
For more info on this glorious three day event that happens every year, visit the official website. I gotta go sit down and drink some water, maybe have a ginger ale.