Welcome to the largest chocolate store in the world! In 2023, the Salon du Chocolat store supplies gigantic chocolate croissants, a 5-meter tall spire topped with a chocolate puppy (LuLu), global and exotic chocolate-producing locations, 250 chocolate and pastry shops, the latest chocolate dresses and capes and competitions like: Who will be named the Master pastry chef for pain au chocolat on October 30. The inaugural evening was for the benefit of the association, Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque. The chocolate store is open for five days from October 28 through November 1.
What was fun
Usually, I attend on Saturday; this was my first visit to a Salon du Chocolat on the inaugural evening. Two things stand out from the usual. I chatted with the Grand Paris 2023 Pâtisserie winner and I saw the chocolate fashion show from a new perspective. I found Cyril Huet Pâtisserie located at the far end of the hall near a black wall. His patisserie is in Sèvres (southwest of Paris). His winning chocolate éclair and tarte citron made into my shopping bag. He made a change to his family’s commercial background as butchers and has been a pastry chef for 14 of his 28 years.
The Chocolate Fashion Show
This year’s 15-outfit fashion show is more about the clothes than exotic use of chocolate as seen in 2022. The daily shows are at 4 pm and 5 pm. Every year, each outfit is designed by a chocolatier and a clothing designer. This was the first time I saw the celebrities modeling the dresses. They were having fun. However, they seemed to be on a practice run to find the garment flaws. The audience spotted the flaws immediately.
On inaugural night, the celebrity models: beauty queens, influencers, television actors and choreographers thought they were in a night club for dancing while wearing their new outfit. One celebrity opened the chocolate box on her chest. The movement releases the skirt. Only part of the skirt fell into place. Unfortunately, two of the choreographer models used sexy dance moves and bounced so much their dress tops were slipping down beyond comfortable. The audience was entertained. By the time of the final catwalk, all flaws had been fixed. Watch the Salon du Chocolat 2023 Fashion Show and Overview on YouTube.
The most touching moment of the fashion show was a young girl, representing the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque and Alex Olivier. The associations help children with heart problems who require operations and may be unable to afford them. Two months ago, she received heart surgery with the help of the heart association and Alex Olivier’s Les Chocolats du Coeur. She always had someone by her side as they waved and walked.
Chocolate Sculptures and Pastries
Every year, one chocolatier is the centre of attention with a sculpture. One year was a mermaid. Last year’s massive chocolate sculpture was a Bugatti. This year 216 Shar Pei chocolate puppies graced a spiral platform with 150 kg. of Valrhona dark chocolate. LuLu is the palace hotel Lutetia’s mascot. The spiral and the puppies were well out of reach for close-up observation. A telescope would have helped to see the large Shar Pei, which topped the spiral.
Competitions and Trophies
Chocolate croissants are a current Paris fashion. One stand had gigantic croissants and pain au chocolat vienoisseries. So gigantic, one could feed a family! The craze began in 2022 when the Confédération Nationale de la Boulangerie-Pâtisserie française organzized the first Master du Pain au Chocolat. Having watched decades ago how one makes a croissant and a pain au chocolat, I agree, it is an art form. The “Meilleur pain au chocolat of France 2023” happens at the Cacao Show stage Monday, October 30.
From Monday, October 30 to Wednesday, November 1, the Trophée International de la Pâtisserie Chocolaterie Française (organized by the Confédération Nationale des Artisans Pâtissiers de France in partnership with Le Journal du Pâtissier and the Confédération des Chocolatiers & Confiseurs de France) will challenge eight professional candidates, each representing a different country, to create exquisite chocolate and pastry creations based on a given theme.
After all this tasting, you will be thirsty. On your way downstairs to the country exhibitors, quench your thirst at the Maya exotic juice table next to the stairs. Enjoy your way around this year’s giant chocolate store!