What more can a devout chocoholic dream of but a four-day feast of everything chocolate imaginable? Cosenza’s divine chocolate festival, dedicated to the Food of the Gods, delivers just that – sublime mouth-watering chocolate creations!
Experiencing Cosenza’s delightful chocolate festival (Festa del Cioccolato) in 2016 and only a stone’s throw from the apartment, I’m adamant not to miss this chocolate extravaganza this year.
Actually, I’ve decided to make this my yearly ritual for the rest of my days, whilst here in Italy.
In 2016, over 180,000 people attended the festival. Figures for 2017 are not out yet.
Where is the chocolate party?
This map of Cosenza city displays Corso Mazzini, which is about a two-kilometre pedestrian street and home to the fabulous MAB – Museo all’aperto Bilotti (Bilotti’s Open Air Museum).
At a guess and to give you an idea of the chocolate festival’s size, I would say that this year’s festival spans over one-kilometre of this street.
A free-entry festival is almost unheard of these days but thankfully, this festival is still free.
Although some of the chocolate on offer can be a little expensive, who cares as it’s only once a year.
Wandering down to corso Mazzini, the large inflatable entrance sign announcing the festival straddles the corso.
Several advertising posters are hurriedly placed on walls and chocolate stalls…
…tantalising even non-chocoholics with seductive posters.
When is the festival?
Cosenza hosts this sweet feast during the last weekend of October, typically, the 26-29th of every year and has been a ritual for fifteen years.
I promise that this post contains many photos of mouth-melting ingenious chocolate creations made by master chocolatiers from across Italy and Calabria.
This festival also draws students still learning the ancient art of chocolate making. I hope this art never dies or is never superseded by anything artificial in the future.
Having created hand-made chocolates many years’ ago for Christmas gifts on a yearly basis, I know and can appreciate the skill and patience required when making chocolate delights.
If you don’t have both when tempering chocolate, then a disaster is imminent…and many disasters have I had!
I’ve never created anything as fancy as these chocolate football boots and wouldn’t know where to start. I wonder if a mould is used or whether they are hand-sculptured?
A sweet feast
During this weekend of luxury indulgence that sweeps the city like no other frenzy I’ve seen…
…corso Mazzini explodes with chocolate lovers from around the region visiting and vying for a taste of this sweet addiction.
I’ve never seen so many unusual chocolate designs and a feast for one’s eyes…
Is chocolate addictive? Is it a bad addiction?
Everything in moderation, right? Well no, not at this festival as nothing is in moderation.
You can’t but help smell the thick chocolate-filled air accosting your nose whilst wandering the corso. And, you certainly can’t turn your back on any of the stalls without a quick look, taste, or purchase.
Apart from many creations that you can purchase to eat along the way or take home for later – if anything lasts the journey home – some stalls host demonstrations.
Stop by and be mesmerised by the method used to prepare delicious crunchy peanut Torrone, a hot chocolate pasta dish, chocolate covered nougat, and many other traditional recipes.
A short video of another master at work…
A little festival history
The first EuroChocolate festival was held back in 1993 in central Italy’s Perugia, which is the inspiration for Cosenza’s Chocolate Festival.
Although the selections are too numerous to list and photograph, I’ve included only a few in this post.
You can buy chocolate liqueurs, chocolate sausage, amazing truffles in all variations, intricate sculptured shoes, Chili chocolate, famous Sicilian Canoli filled with various fillings, sublime feather-light mousse, and so much more…
For the duration of the festival, a DJ in a little stall belts out tunes, there’s live music, musical clowns, interviews with chocolatiers, and of course several demonstrations.
Why not learn how your sublime creations are made?
I would love to see a demonstration on how the intricate shoe sculptures are made by chocolate artisans.
One favourite from the Istituto d’Istruzione Superiore “Mancini” on via dell’ Autostazione, is the wonderful light chocolate mousse served in a small cup and for €1, who can complain?
Waiting for next year’s excellent Festa del Cioccolato
If you’re making your way down to southern Italy at the end of October of any year, you must try and make this date, at least once.
Why not join in the chocolate party?
To keep abreast of this festival for next year, you can visit the event’s Facebook page.
Don’t forget, as with other food festivals there are stalls that allow free tastings of chocolate sensations – just be warned, the sugar hit is super rich and ever-lasting!
Would you like to indulge in this festival? Are there other chocolate festivals in Italy or around the world worth a mention here?
I may be close to one or two, so let me know as I’d love to hear about anything chocolate…
Another of my favourites – Nougat – these slabs are incredible. Everything at the festival is sold by the kilo.