Who doesn’t love chocolate? Possibly a few people, namely those poor sods who literally can’t tolerate ingesting the stuff, but thankfully I am not one of those people! So when I heard about a chocolate festival happening down at The Rocks in Sydney, I was naturally all over it.
The Smooth Festival of Chocolate was held over the last weekend (12 – 13 September 2015) across The Rocks and Sydney Harbour foreshore. Thankfully, the warm spring weather decided to hold up over the weekend, making it a wonderfully pleasant day to engage in some crowd milling and gastronomy.
As with everything first impressions are important, and on this occasion I was nonplussed. When I arrived, I was surprised to find that the festival stalls were crammed into the tiny patch of grass off to the left of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Even though I had known that the festival couldn’t possibly have been held in wider streets further into the Rocks area, which are much better suited to such festivals, due to the weekend markets being set up there, I somehow was expecting a slightly less cramped and more shaded venue to have been chosen.
Thankfully, the smell and taste of gorgeous chocolatey goodness more than made up for the disappointing venue location. After wandering around trying to decide what to try first, my eye was caught by people wandering around with baby Dutch Pancakes. After a bit of pancake stalking, I found the Yummy Dutch Pancake stall which was offering up plates of ten baby Dutch pancakes smothered in Nutella chocolate and liberally sprinkled with icing sugar. Unfortunately, being on my own I knew that I wouldn’t be able to scoff down so many pancakes alone without becoming ill, so I decided against buying a plate (after much deliberation of course!). Luckily, a passing stranger allowed me to nibble on her single leftover pancake which she didn’t want, and I must say, it was the best pancake I’ve ever had in my life!
The next chocolate target was to be found at the Black Star Pastries stall. Along with having an assortment of cakes, they also have 3 varieties of pastry tacos. You heard me. Pasty. Tacos. The names of these sweets were a little too hipster for comfort; Angel (lemon curd, passionfruit jelly, Italian meringue, and coconut), Devil (dark chocolate, chilli ganache, freeze dried plum, and hazelnut crunch), and Matchmallow (matcha white chocolate ganache, freeze dried lychee, and raspberry marshmallow). I honestly loved the Angel and Matchmallow ones, the flavour combination was fresh and the colour was vibrant. I could have done without the chilli in the Devil, it was slightly too overpowering and gave the sweet a kick that lingered in the mouth for longer than desired.
The final stop was at the Parisi stall, where chocolate coated fruit was flowing out like no tomorrow. It was pleasant to see what is now considered an old fashioned treat at such a festival, and the Parisi stallholders had made sure to include all the favourites such as chocolate coated strawberries, bananas, and mangos. For myself, I walked away with two large strawberries, one dark chocolate and one white. They were absolutely delicious, the fruit was obviously high quality and the chocolate cracked satisfyingly when bitten into.
Now thoroughly chocolated out, I waddled off the nearest bench to gaze over the harbour in the sun whilst waiting for my food coma to subside.
For more information on the festival or the stall holders, check out the following link: