Chocolate Festivals Around the World

11 Dec 2023

Celebrations Chocolate Knowledge

Does anything sound quite as delicious as a chocolate festival? Get your party hats on and activate your tastebuds as we explore what the countries of the world have to offer.

At Hotel Chocolat, we understand more than most that cacao is a universal symbol of passion. The creation of indulgent chocolate treats is a craft like no other. However, you may not know that people celebrate chocolate globally through various festivals and events. Sounds delicious! Let’s explore the unique flavours and traditions that each country brings to the dessert plate.

What we find most wonderful about cacao is that it means a lot to different areas of the world. From the refined elegance of Europe’s chocolate celebrations and the innovative flavour fusions of Asia, to the rich and historical roots of cacao in the Americas. Join us, as we embark on an irresistible journey through the enchanting world of chocolate tourism and events.

Europe’s symphony of chocolate celebrations

Europe holds a rich tapestry of chocolate history. And its advancements in chocolate innovation set the stage for some incredible chocolate celebrations. From Belgium’s revered cacao craftsmanship to London’s blend of tradition and modernity, each festival reflects the region’s chocolate journey. Spanning centuries, Europe has been at the forefront of chocolate evolution, blending ancient recipes with more contemporary tastes. These festivals not only celebrate Europe’s chocolate heritage but also showcase the continent’s ongoing commitment to pushing the boundaries of chocolate artistry.

Belgian chocolate festivals

For the chocolate lovers among you, you may already be aware of Belgium’s deep-rooted chocolate heritage. As such, Belgium hosts festivals that are a true spectacle of cacao craftsmanship. The main aim is not just about tasting chocolate, but offering an immersive experience into the art of Belgian chocolate making. With a focus on showcasing traditional techniques, visitors can expect a journey through time, savouring chocolates that are both a tribute to the past and a nod to modern innovation.

La Salon du Chocolat is a three-day chocolate festival held every February in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. This exhibition extends thousands of square metres, turning the whole city into a chocolate art creation — a true paradise for chocolate aficionados. The star of the event has to be its Chocolate Fashion Show, where models parade a variety of chocolate dresses made by Belgian and international fashion designers and chocolatiers.

Paris’ chocolate show

With the same name, La Salon du Chocolat in Paris is a yearly trade fair for the international chocolate industry. It has been running for over 25 years and showcases over 280 exhibitors. With events and activities throughout the five-day event including the iconic Pastry Show, the Cacao Musical Show, and talks and tastings in the ‘Chocosphere’, there are delectable entertainment options for the whole family.

The London Chocolate Show

London’s chocolate festival blends the city’s historic elegance with contemporary chocolate trends. It takes place in the great Olympia National Hall every October. The London Chocolate Show often features a mix of classical chocolate creations and modern, experimental flavours. It showcases the diverse and dynamic nature of London’s chocolate culture.

Visitors can indulge in a variety of chocolate experiences, from tastings to workshops. Each event is set against the backdrop of London’s iconic landmarks. There’s even a Chocolate Dessert of the Year competition, featuring some amazing chocolatier crafting and extraordinary designs.

Barcelona’s chocolate passion

Barcelona’s chocolate festivals celebrate Spain’s rich history with cacao. These events often feature a blend of traditional Spanish chocolate recipes and innovative new creations. The festivals provide a platform for local chocolatiers to display their skills. Visitors can engage in chocolate-making workshops, taste unique chocolate pairings with local wines, and experience the vibrant culture of Barcelona through the medium of chocolate.

One of these chocolate festivals includes the Cocoa Blues & Fusion Exchange — an immersive and sensory experience, combining the sweetness of chocolate with the rhythm of the blues. From parties and carnival events to chocolate-tasting experiences from Barcelona-based chocolatier, Cacao Sampaka, it’s sure to be a mouth-watering experience for all.

Celebrating cacao’s roots in America

The Americas boast a rich and diverse chocolate history, deeply rooted in the ancient traditions of cacao cultivation and chocolate making. This region, where cacao originally flourished, has evolved to embrace both its historical legacy and modern innovations in chocolate. This love of all things cacao is evident across the region. You can see this through Seattle’s artisanal focus, Grenada’s vibrant cacao heritage, and Mexico’s ancient chocolate practices. And the passion for cacao extends the way to New York’s cosmopolitan chocolate scene. There’s no denying that the Americas showcase a remarkable journey of chocolate from its humble indigenous origins to contemporary innovations.

Seattle’s Northwest Chocolate Festival

The Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle is a testament to the region’s love for artisanal craft chocolate. This festival celebrates the American chocolate-making tradition, with a strong emphasis on small-batch and innovative producers. Here, chocolate enthusiasts can explore new flavours and learn about the intricacies of chocolate making from bean to bar.

Between the selections of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, truffles and caramels, you can watch chefs on the Kitchen Main Stage and attend talks in the Cacao & Chocolate Education Program. A heart-warming fusion of chocolate education and tasting.

The Grenada Chocolate Fest

The Grenada Chocolate Fest is a vibrant celebration of the island’s cacao heritage. It’s said to be the Caribbean’s best chocolate festival. Here, visitors can experience the entire authentic chocolate-making process, from harvesting cacao pods to crafting the final product. The festival is a colourful display of Grenada’s culture, infused with cacao’s rich history and its significance to the island.

The festival offers a variety of delicious experiences. Some include chocolate wellness experiences for visitors to discover the emotional benefits of cacao as well as its more-ish flavour.

Magdalena Fielden, founder of the Grenada Chocolate Festival, says the festival “is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the local farmers and chocolatiers who have made Grenada a world-renowned destination for chocolate lovers, in addition to the power of community and the importance of sustainable and ethical practices in a small island.”

ChocoArt in Mexico

Mexico, the birthplace of cacao, hosts Festival del Chocolate. This celebration showcases Mexico’s deep historical and cultural significance of chocolate, to promote the knowledge of their ancestral grain.

Taking place in an area of 13,000 square metres, the event features ancient chocolate-making demonstrations, highlighting the traditional methods used by the Aztecs and Mayans. Visitors can enjoy a fusion of historical and modern chocolate practices, reflecting Mexico’s rich heritage in chocolate.

In an attempt to promote awareness and education around cacao, there will be a certification program of the ‘International Institute for Chocolate & Cacao Tasting’ with Level 1 and 2 Courses available. There is also an event called ‘Mundo Maya’ where 32 states and five countries showcase their cacao products and services.

The New York Chocolate Show

Life in the city gets a little sweeter when The Big Apple hosts a spectacular chocolate festival — all about celebrating the diversity of chocolate. With its own version of the fabulous Salon du Chocolat, New York attracts renowned chocolatiers and chocolate enthusiasts from around the world with a myriad of cacao-related activities.

From tastings of international chocolate varieties to hands-on chocolate-making workshops, there’s something for everyone to try. This chocolate event balances the taste and the history of chocolate by including discussions on sustainable cacao farming and the importance of ethical chocolate production practices.

East meets West in Asia

Asia’s journey in the chocolate world is a fascinating tale of cultural fusion and innovation. While not traditionally known as a chocolate hub, Asia has embraced chocolate with a unique approach. Chocolatiers from across the continent have found ways to blend a rich array of local flavours and ingredients with the art of chocolate making.

Festivals like the Tokyo Chocolate Show and events in Seoul and Bangkok are prime examples of this fusion. Where traditional Eastern tastes meet Western chocolate techniques. These festivals not only showcase innovative creations but also highlight Asia’s growing influence and distinctive voice in the ever-growing global chocolate landscape.

Tokyo Chocolate Show

Asian chocolate festivals, especially in Tokyo, are renowned for their innovative and modern approach to chocolate. Chocolate events in Asia showcase how traditional Eastern flavours can blend harmoniously with chocolate to create unique and exciting new tastes. Take the infusion of sake lees and yuzu sake, for example. While these may not be flavours we’re used to in the Western world, The Tokyo Chocolate Show, along with other festivals in Singapore and Shanghai, offers a glimpse into the future of chocolate, where tradition meets innovation.

Did you also know that we have our own Hotel Chocolat store in Tokyo? A necessary pit-stop for any chocolate lover on tour.

Seoul Chocolate Festival

In Seoul, their yearly chocolate festival celebrates the fusion of Korean flavours with traditional chocolate. Running every January across four days, this event takes place in Gangnam’s CoEx Mall. The festival is known for its innovative chocolate creations, incorporating local ingredients like refreshing green tea and soft red bean. Visitors can enjoy chocolate in various forms, from sophisticated confections to playful chocolate-infused street food, showcasing the versatility of chocolate in Korean cuisine.

Bangkok Chocolate Extravaganza

Thailand’s capital hosts a grand chocolate festival named the Thai Craft Chocolate Fair, where the rich spices of Thailand are blended with fine chocolate. The goal of this chocolate event is to ease Thai chocolate into the world-class chocolate industry. To do so, this festival has an agenda of workshops, discussions and small exhibitions for attendees to learn the story and innovations of Thai chocolate.

It truly is a paradise for those who appreciate the intricate balance of sweet and spicy flavours. You can take part in chocolate-making workshops and other activities, embracing local ingredients like lemongrass and coconut. A unique twist on traditional chocolate recipes that we’re so fond of.

Hotel Chocolat’s global chocolate journey

At Hotel Chocolat, we’re privileged to have our own voice in showcasing the sheer variety and essence of global chocolate. With this responsibility comes action and accountability. And we’re proud to say that we ethically source all of our cacao through gentle farming practices.

To experience the most authentic taste of chocolate, the R&V Colombia Almond Praline Selector and the R&V Honduras Pistachio Praline Selector offer a taste of the unique cacao profiles from Colombia and Honduras. Our Better Way Bar — available in both milk and dark chocolate praline — also represents our ongoing commitment to sustainable cacao farming. Featuring ingredients sourced from Saint Lucia and Ghana, these chocolate bars help cacao farmers and biodiversity thrive.

Celebrate the chocolate wonders of the world with Hotel Chocolat

Join us in celebrating the diverse and rich world of chocolate. Whether by exploring international chocolate festivals or indulging in our globally inspired selections, there’s a chocolate experience for everyone.

Are you ready to discover the stories, flavours, and artistry behind each bar? Let our team guide you on this delightful journey through the world of chocolate.