This past weekend, pastry chefs and chocolatiers from all over Sweden gathered for the annual four day Baking and Chocolate Festival (Bak- & Chokladfestivalen) in Stockholm.
There’s no denying the massive interest for baking and chocolate in Sweden.
By 10.45am on Thursday, just fifteen minutes before the festival was scheduled to open, a huge crowd had gathered outside, impatiently waiting to be released into the hall. The joint feeling of excitement was evident. Everyone was eyeing each other like at the starting line of a race, eager to get their hands on treats, and generous amounts of samples.
The Baking and Chocolate Festival is a form of expo for baking enthusiast and chocolate lovers alike.
Obviously, I couldn’t miss it.
A huge hall is filled with the sweet scent of chocolate and cakes. There’s vendors selling delicate truffles, cake artists showing off their intricate decorating skills, truffle making and cupcake baking stations, and of course the annual pastry chef of the year competition. There was also a new exhibition of sorts this year called “From Bean to Bar” allowing onlookers to experience the process of chocolate making, from the cocoa bean all the way to the final product – the chocolate bar.
I was actually pleasantly surprised at how good the festival was. It’s like a party of inspiration and there’s so much to look at, sample, and purchase that it’s borderline overwhelming.
Perhaps I also enjoyed this event more than similar events before, because I wasn’t riddled with as much anxiety as I usually am. I pep-talked myself beforehand about allowing myself to sample what I pleased, without feeling guilt, and I did. Sample that is.
Granted, I didn’t end up sampling much (especially if compared to some of the double and triple dippers I saw). But thanks to having eaten a proper breakfast, I wasn’t starving, so my choices were based on my tastebuds, and not on my hunger.
I decided to purchase a couple of goodies that piqued my interest, to take home for my boyfriend and I to sample in the evening. And as baking research, of course. I want to make my own version of some of these!
On the left, clockwise from top left: white chocolate passion fruit truffle, liquorice sea salt truffle, apple liquor truffle, and vegan dark chocolate truffle from Cake Cowboy (they were okay, not my favourite). On the right, clockwise from top left: virgin mojito truffles, salted caramel truffle, and butterscotch truffle by Chocolatte (these truffles were insanely good).
Sandwich cookies by cake artist Liv Sandberg. On the left, chocolate chip cookies sandwiched with chocolate chip cookie dough, and brownie cookies sandwiched with salted caramel pecan frosting. Crazy good. A similar type of cookie is definitely up on my baking to do list!
Liquorice stones, the pink were slightly harder in the middle (almost broke my teeth on some of them), and the black had a chocolate coating. They were okay, but not a favourite.
My only regret? That I didn’t get some of that glitter dust for decorating my own baking.
Oh well, next time.