It was nothing but heaven for chocolate lovers who attended the third annual Barbados Chocolate and Culinary Festival last Saturday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Barbadians of all ages came out in their numbers to the event which promised to be a sweet and savoury journey. From chocolate fudge and cupcakes to macaroons and natural juices, entrepreneurs offered an array of foods and desserts.
Organizer of the festival and owner of Magnolia Chocolatier Margaret King told Barbados TODAY she decided she would bring a chocolate festival to Barbados after attending one in the United States (US).
“The response has been really good. People are engaged; they already love chocolate but they’re becoming more aware of chocolate and they want to know more about it – how it’s made and things like that,” she said, adding that each year the response to the festival has improved, with patrons gravitating towards the live demonstrations.
King hopes that in the future the festival can become a multi-day event.
Among the chocolates on display were sweet treats from King’s own chocolatier, including milk chocolate with guava filling, white chocolate with coconut filling and dark chocolate with Mount Gay Rum ganache.
Derrick Hastick is the owner of the only chocolate factory on the island, Agapey Chocolate Factory, which opened in 2011. He said that despite the initial difficulty of establishing the brand, the factory now exports to the US, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Hastick disclosed that all ingredients to make the chocolates were sourced from the tropics, including the cocoa beans from Grenada, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador. At his booth were cocoa pods which contain 40 seeds from which chocolate is made.
The Fudge Box was the newest business at the festival. After a long time of being interested in making chocolate fudge, Kim Trotman was finally in a financial position to open the business in January.
She was happy with how she was received and how the festival went, adding that coffee-flavoured fudges, butter pecan, mint chocolate and cookies and cream were the flavours of choice at the event.
Chef Michael Poole from Seattle, Washington gave attendees a demonstration on how to make dark chocolate ganache. His business, Hot Chocolat, was also featured at the festival and he said he received positive feedback from Barbadians.
Poole displayed some of his specialties, including coconut ganache, mango passion ganache, and coffee caramel lemon meringue.
Leandra Thompson has been making food-themed jewelry and decorations for more than three years and she has turned her hobby into a business called Sugar Dream.
The Barbados Chocolate and Culinary Festival, she said, was one of her highlight events. On display were Thompson’s chocolate bar pendants, earrings and key rings; sliced cake necklaces and rings; and an array of other food-themed jewelry.
Delicious Super Cakes specializes in probiotic healthy cakes with ingredients such as nuts, grains, legumes and vegetables; and it also supports local organic farmers. Owner Steven Whittaker told Barbados TODAY that it was always his vision to cater to people’s health and wellness.
He described his first experience at the festival as very intriguing, having met some interesting people who liked his authenticity.
“[There are] too many people with diabetes, too many people dropping down. A lot of people are sick…[and] it’s because of the foods that are spoon-fed to them. The average person is kind of like docile; they don’t use the initiative to buy things that are good for them.”
Tasty cinnamon almond cake, walnut cake, probiotic chestnut cake and chocolate cake were among the products in his display.