On Saturday the 25th of July I attended my first Winelands Chocolate Festival at Lourensford Wine Estate. I’ve worked at Lourensford before so I know it’s a very pretty estate, but it was even more gorgeous under the bright blue skies on Saturday afternoon. With the tall mountains holding in the big green and yellow fields, chocolate was the perfect food sort for the chilly day. We were politely ushered in by the staff and directed where to park, which worked quickly and efficiently. Well done to the ground staff.
We were quite surprised to see a very long queue when we got to the front door. People love chocolate! The Quicket staff were very polite and helpful when we reached the front, which helped the line move quickly. There were also food trucks there, which was a great touch as chocolate is awesome but having some proper lunch is also good. Wine was also available for sale 😉
It was super busy from the get go. There were a number of stalls along the walls of the main hall, with seats in the middle. The outside glass room also had a number of stalls in it. This was actually the main entrance but we went around the side so that we could actually get in.
There was cake baking competition as well, which I hadn’t expected. There were some beautiful looking cakes with HOURS of work having been put into them.
The venue was nicely decorated, but I felt that some of the stalls could have put more effort into their presentations. It was very convention like and considering everything was 3 rows deep, I basically didn’t see or get a sense of many of the brands; the lack of decor gave me no sense of what they represented. On the other hand, some stalls put a LOT of effort into their presentations such as the Jean-Pierre Fortain chocolatier who was offering chocolate and spiced nuts and Honest Chocolate (you know I’m a fan but they were offering tastings which is what the festival is meant to be all about – let’s be “honest” 😉 ).
These were 2 other stalls that looked delicious. I asked about the glass jar chocolates and the girl said she was just standing in and couldnt’ tell me anything about them. Ok. The quiches below looked beautiful, again, didn’t get the name.
My 3 most favourite stalls of the festival were, in no particular order: Maison Gateau.
Maison Gateau created the most beautiful cupcakes. They were whimsical and fun and I bought 4! I’m not a big sweet tooth so I ate them over the next 3 days. They were also really big so I had 1 on the day, 1 on Sunday and 2 on Monday – and they kept just fine. We left them on the dining room table at home and they were still totally edible.
We had a rocky road (which has a pretzel, jelly egg, marshmellows as toppings), which I didn’t think I would like but it was the best one! The chocolate buttercream icing was delicious. We also had a Snicker one, filled with chocolatey nuts in the center, a great surprise! We also had a salted caramel one with popcorn on top and a crunchie honey comb one. They all had tasty gooey stuff in the middle, hmmmmm!
Frey has also just launched in South Africa and they had an interactive store. Visitors could take a selfie on their ‘love couch’ on win a hamper. They had a big chocolate fountain (which would explain the hold up at the front door!), they had chocolate tasters and big slabs for sale. It added a lot of fun to the event.
The last stall that I liked was the Yummy stall and it was exactly that. They had these chocolate slices that were bitter, sour, deeply chocolatey and DIVINE! I had a free sample and went straight back to try one. I had the one with the white stripes, which the lady said was raspberry. Didn’t taste like fruit to me but was SO good:
At this point we needed a little break from the madness and went outside for some air. It was a little overwhelming as it was very full and busy and had apparently been like that all morning! After lunch, things eased up a little bit as more as visitors moved outside to enjoy the sun (and a glass of wine I must add).
We did one last turn of the festival and decided to call it a day. Unfortunately, there was no media entry/point so I couldn’t find any representatives from the festival, which was a pity as I always try to personally thank the people who give tickets for competitions for BTCBlog readers. Luckily, I did managed to meet the Frey rep who was lovely (keep your eyes peeled for more chocolate give aways on BCTCBlog!).
We strolled down the lawn back to our car, but couldn’t resist going into the yellow field to take pictures. As we walked in, a gust of win suddenly flipped the box of cupcakes out of Mr Love’s hands and they went flying into the clovers!! I was like, “NOOOOOOOO!!!” My cupcake life flashed before my eyes as I leapt in slow motion to rushed and pick them up. 3 SECOND RULE! Don’t judge me! Look, if they’re landed in cow shit, I’d have left them. BUT THEY DIDN’T! And a little grass never hurt anyone 😉 It did inspire us to have our own photoshoot though. Most of the pictures were a total and utter disaster but it was fun to be creative. Respect to all the models and photographers out there! It is totally hard than it looks hehe