This show was billed as the ‘luxury chocolate show’, ‘a boutique show’ and the sumptuous picture of champagne chocolate cake on the website proved promising. I hadn’t bought an advanced ticket, nor was I able to secure a discounted ticket but I went all the same – hopeful that I was able to get into the limited capacity venue.
I arrived in my ‘going-to-class’ duds weighed down with my giant backpack of baking school gear (I had a class that afternoon that I could not miss) feeling I was seriously under dressed.
As I waited in line (ack – the dreaded queues at big city events) I wondered if I would have enough time to drink in the only part of the chocolate festival I was able to attend.
Then I bought my ticket, entered the doors and walked through a corridor of a chocolate history story board, courtesy of Chocosol, the bicycle-powered outfit making socially conscious chocolate treats in both solid and liquid form. And then it happened:
I walked past several tables offering free samples of commercial candy bars cleverly disguised as chocolate (e.g. Almond joy) and hoards of greedy people who descend upon samples like vultures at a fresh kill. They weren’t moving for anyone lest someone get in the way of them and free chocolate. You had to aggressively muscle your way past in order to make it through all the displays.
The few places featured were brick and mortar businesses you could visit anytime in Toronto so the ’boutique-ness’ was lost. There was even one booth selling tickets to a Chinese dance performance and because they were giving out free chocolate samples they were allowed to be part of the show.
A few events were scheduled: chocolate contest and games; chocolate making for kids; chocolate spa pampering; baking demos; chocolate and wine pairing seminars; and the grande finale the 911 relay where emergency professionals gorge themselves on chocolate for gluttinous chocolate supremacy bragging rights.
Considering the show didn’t live up to its name, the amount of exhibitors were few and variety and gourmet va-va-voom was severely lacking, the $25 ticket price or the discounted price on Buytopia was not worth the money. And what’s with using Roy Thompson Hall, home stage for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as the venue?
May I suggest the Chocolate tour in Stratford Ontario which is much better for the same money.
Redeeming features were Chocosol and their history of chocolate display, Laura Slack a chocolate artist and the guy who did a chocolate sculpture live.
Pictures to follow…