Beirut hosts its 8th cooking festival and the 5th edition of Salon Du Chocolat

Popup stands made the New Waterfront’s Seaside Arena look like a local market.
by Maria Matar and Jacob Boswall

9 November 2018 | 15:47

Source: by Annahar

This photo shows a model flaunting her chocolate dress during the fashion show. (Annahar Photo/Maria Matar)

BEIRUT: Chocolate lovers and food enthusiasts rushed to the Seaside Arena to experience Beirut’s 8th Cooking festival and Salon du Chocolat Beirut.

Under the patronage of the Minister of Tourism Avedis Guidanian and with the participation of over 40 chefs, experts, and professionals, the event will be held from 8 to 10 November and expects to welcome more than 15,000 visitors over the coming three days.

“We are delighted to host these annual events and celebrate amazing flavors, great taste and the latest trends. Food lies at the heart of the Lebanese culture and is something that we are immensely proud of. These two events reinforce the capital as an international food hotspot,” said Joumana Dammous, hospitality manager Cooking Festival and Salon du Chocolat Beirut.

The national anthem kicked off proceedings, paying tribute to the country whose capital was named by Travel and LeisureMagazine as the world’s best food destination. Tourism Minister Avedis Guidanian thanked the organizers and highlighted the recent comeback of Lebanese tourism.

“Thanks to the efforts of many, the UNWTO has stated that tourist spending in Lebanon has reached 7.6 billion dollars last year,” he said.

Popup stands made the New Waterfront’s Seaside Arena look like a local market. Vendors sold many of Lebanon’s finest consumables from cider to olive oil and chocolate, and offered generous amounts of freebies to boot. Boutique honey sellers rubbed up against vineyards specializing in chocolate flavored champagne.

Standing tall between the stands, the giant Chocolate Angel made a perfect centerpiece for visitors’ snaps. The monolith is made up of more than 200 kilos of chocolate by Rami Boutros from Bluemz Catering.

This year, the Beirut cooking festival features 100 exhibitors, the Chef’s theater with more than 30 demonstrations from top chefs, the Librairie Gourmande featuring a wide selection of cookbooks, the organic pavilion offering organic items, and the wine boutique presenting organic Lebanese wine.

In parallel, Salon du Chocolat features 60 stands showcasing the latest in the world of chocolate, confectionery and pastry, as well as hosting a number of exciting events.

Visitors were not shy when it came to trying tasters; booth-owners could barely keep up as visitors devoured organic chocolate spread-covered crackers and knocked back liters of locally-produced Caeser Cider.

“It’s my first time here and I’m amazed by all the chocolate designs and creations; it’s a mixture of art and food. Lebanon needs such events to introduce people to new products and revive the market,” said Walid Abdelwahed as he dipped his cookie in a chocolate fountain.

Perhaps the climax of Salon du Chocolat was the fashion show, bringing together Lebanese designers and pastry chefs who designed dresses made of chocolate. International designer Karoline Lang teamed up with Lebanese master chef Charles Azar to create the star piece of the show.

With their edible gowns, 13 models walked along the catwalk to the sound of foot-stomping melodies from carnival anthems to club bangers. Some models were physically overwhelmed by the weight of their sugary garb, barely managing to stagger towards the press pit before making the treacherously sticky journey back to the changing rooms.

Ten students from Academie Libanaise des Beaux-arts (Alba) will be competing to create the most exciting chocolate sculpture from a single block of chocolate.

In addition to that, the Salon du Chocolat Junior welcomes children and provides them with the opportunity to experiment with chocolate and enjoy activities such as cookie decorating.

The two events continue on 9 and 10 November with an entrance fee of 15,000 L.L and free entrance for children under 10 years old.

This photo shows the giant chocolate angel which is made up of more than 200 kgs of chocolate.

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