We all know long weekends are all about indulging, and what better indulgence is there than chocolate?
That’s right, pretty much none. The Smooth Festival of Chocolate hit The Rocks over the weekend, with hundreds of dessert and food stalls lining the cobbled streets in the sunshine.
On such a beautiful warm long weekend the crowds were sure to gather, and they did so in droves. The narrow streets were packed with food lovers and curious tourists wanting that sugar hit. With so many stalls we didn’t really know where to begin, and opted to wander the streets for a bit. While I like the winding streets and architecture of The Rocks, it was sometimes difficult to navigate through the throngs of people and stallholders. I have considered the phenomenon of Sunday drivers before; with drivers taking their sweet time on the roads while enjoying a Sunday trip. This seemed to be the same for Sunday festival-goers too. Admittedly, I’m not the most patient of people so navigating through crowds in the hot sun began to grate on me a little. But that’s probably just me, I can only take so much leisurely strolling. Places to go, chocolate to eat!
Adora Chocolates stall
The festival stretched throughout The Rocks, with room to stretch out on the grass in the warm sunshine or wend through the back streets of old Sydney.
Bar 100 on George Street was a cool escape from the masses, and offered a selection of chocolate cocktails for the occasion. The three on offer included a Chocolate Sazerac, with Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky, Sugar Syrup, Kahlua, Absinthe and Chocolate Bitters, an Indulgence, featuring Mozart Gold, Bailey’s, Frangelico and Cream and a Chilli Chocolate Martini, with Absolut Vanilla, Frangelico, Kahlua and chilli slices.
Indulgence Cocktail and Chilli Chocolate Martini
The Indulgence was probably the most impressive looking, with chocolate sauce and strawberries floating on top. The Chilli Chocolate Martini had an interesting taste, with the chilli featuring fairly prominently. It wasn’t overly hot like chilli, but it tasted more strongly of chilli than chocolate in my opinion. As I’m not much of a fan of milky/creamy alcoholic beverages I actually preferred the Chocolate Sazerac – I could definitely taste the bourbon but not in an overpowering way.
One issue I thought was a little odd was that they only had one bartender making the cocktails, resulting in a fairly long wait time. With such a large audience in The Rocks I would’ve thought they would have more than one bartender.
Heading back into the thick of it, it was about lunchtime, so we decided on a good healthy lunch of petit fours and eclairs from La maison de l’eclair. We picked six treats for $10, including a salted caramel eclair, lemon meringue eclair and petit fours. My favourite was probably the chocolate petit four, containing indulgent chocolate mousse and covered in chocolate.
Chocolate Petit Four
Unfortunately the other eclairs disappointed me slightly. While they were fairly light and sweet and cream filled, none of them packed the decadent flavour punch I was looking for. The salted caramel was nice and the berries on the berry eclair were a tangy hit to break up the sweetness, but they didn’t wow me like I was hoping.
Salted caramel eclair
If you didn’t feel like being a complete chocolate guts, there were plenty of savoury sensations to try too; such as Sundweesh, a combination of Middle-Eastern and Western flavours in the form of bread filled with meats, sauces, salads or other fillings.
Jafe Jaffles stood out with their bright yellow kombi van selling a range of savoury and sweet jaffles to hungry festival-goers. Who wouldn’t want to eat a jaffle called The David Jafflehoff?!
Think of all the sweet things you can; they were probably featured at the festival. Rocky road, candy apples, crepes, gelato, macarons – all in one place! A dentist’s worst nightmare. If you were feeling like something cool, there was plenty to choose from, with stalls from not only Gelato Messia, but Movenpick Ice Cream, Serendipity Ice Cream and Orange Leaf Frozen Yoghurt. Adora Chocolates had rows of truffles and treats lining their cabinets to tempt passers-by. I had on good authority that the lime white chocolate truffle was a winner, but sadly by the time we re-visited the stall later they were sold out.
Canoli anyone? Paticceria Caruso drew attention to the Italian dessert with the addition of a giant canoli shell filled with smaller canoli. If you’re anything like me, giant novelty desserts are always a good thing.
Voodooo Rocky Road
Love Dem Apples
The Callebaut test kitchen saw some of the best take to the kitchen and show off their best recipes and demonstrations. We managed to catch nutritionist and home cook Danielle Minnebo’s Raw Chocolate and Orange Tart demonstration. The tart is gluten free, egg free, soy free and dairy free – a simple-to-make treat for those with dietary restrictions or craving a healthy treat!
- For the crust)
- 100g medjool dates
- 150g activated or roasted almonds
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- For the filling)
- 140g cashew nuts
- 180g coconut oil
- 140g maple syrup
- 120g cacao powder
- Pinch of salt
- Zest of 1 orange
- Handful of cacao nibs
- Pop the dates and almonds into a food processor and blend for one minute until you have a fine crumb. Add the coconut oil and blend again for a few seconds.
- Tip contents into a tart tin and using your fingers press the mixture into the bottom of the tart tin and up along the sides. Pop into the fridge to set while you prepare the filling.
- Add cashew nuts to the same food processor and blend for five minutes until you have a smooth butter. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides and then continue to blend. Add the coconut oil and blend for another 15 seconds.
- Pour this mixture into a large bowl, then stir in the maple syrup, cacao powder, salt and orange zest until all the ingredients have combined and you have a smooth and glossy mixture.
- Remove the tart tin from the fridge, then gently pour in the mixture. Return to the fridge and allow to set for one hour.
- Before serving sprinkle some more orange zest over the top along with some cacao nibs.
- This is an incredibly rich dessert so slice thinly! Store in the fridge so the filling stays firm and fresh.