Chocolate was a theme for the conference. The conference opened just prior to the official opening of the New Zealand Chocolate Festival and the Food Blogger's were very kindly invited to the opening by the Intercontinental Hotel. Embarrassingly I was the last to arrive. I hate being late, and was even making good time but I am very out of practice taking the bus into town at peak traffic and with the continuation of the horrid local roadwork's I was ten minutes late. I heard the last of a presentation by Juan Balsani (Kermadec) and saw him make caramelised white chocolate spaghetti!
|Juan Balsani making magical chocolate dessert!|
The festival opened with a speech by the Wellington Mayor who mentioned that she had sampled fresh chocolate in Ghana. I definitely would like to try fresh chocolate someday. Once the speeches concluded we were free to enjoy the delights of the reception including sparkling wine, chocolate macarons and all the trade stands. It was strange, I felt quite fraudulent, as though I wasn't supposed to be there. Normally I love trade stands at conferences (hey - who doesn't like free sample shopping) but it has been three years since I've attended a conference and I felt out of practice I guess. Luckily I came across the chocolate fountain room, this helped somewhat to comfort the nerves. On entry you receive a cup, stick and two marshmallows. Normally my handbag is full of child paraphernalia, so unfortunately I didn't have any baby wipes on me for when the inevitable happened and a little chocolate drip found its way onto my top.
It was during the reception that I discovered that my phone was nearly flat and that my charger was broken. Luckily, Dick Smith's was around the corner so I dashed off and bought a new one. Given that I'd forgotten the camera this would be my only visual record of the day. So after arriving late, then popping out I was all flustered. I went to purchase some chocolate but the stand didn't take EFTPOS and I didn't feel like leaving again!
|There was a chocolate chess tournament as part of the conference - once you took a piece you ate it! Not bad|
Schoc chocolates were represented. I can vividly remember going to their Greytown store five years ago and for the first time tasting really good quality chocolate with non-traditional flavours. I thought that I was adventurous trying their sea salt flavour. I purchased their new fennel flavour (amazing) and also carrot and coriander. Is there no limit to flavours-that-go-well with chocolate?
As this talk took place first thing on the second morning of the conference we became rapidly used to starting the day with chocolate. From what I have read on other blogs, it has been a hard return to reality, and some bloggers have introduced 'breakfast dessert' to tide themselves over. Brilliant!