The 29th edition of Eurochocolate – the International Chocolate Festival – kicks off on October 13th. All the energy of the Food of the Gods with a focus on sustainability, solidarity, and chocolate trips in the Lands of Cocoa, giant chocolate sculptures, special guests, workshops, and lots of chocolate-themed fun.
The widely popular formula of Einstein’s E=mc², playfully reinterpreted as Eurochocolate=much chocolate, will accompany the upcoming Indoor edition of the International Chocolate Festival, scheduled from October 13th – 22nd at Umbriafiere in Bastia Umbra (Perugia).
If, as Einstein taught us, a tiny amount of matter contains an enormous amount of energy, this is particularly true for chocolate, which has been among the most beloved sources for centuries. The fascinating and still little-known raw material from which chocolate originates, cocoa, will be one of the focuses of the next edition, amid a growing active presence of international producers, solidarity projects, and sustainability.
Umbriafiere’s three pavilions, easily accessible thanks to fast road connections, are getting ready to host three brand-new thematic areas characterized by significant scenography: the Chocolate Experience, the Chocolate Show, and the Funny Chocolate.
Education, entertainment, guided tastings, games, workshops, animation, and a large chocolate emporiumwill enliven the visit of chocolate lovers. But here’s what awaits the public in the three thematic pavilions of Umbriafiere starting from October 13.
Walking through Pavilion 7 dedicated to the Chocolate Experience, visitors can immerse themselves in a Tree to Bar journey to discover the distant Playa de Oro in Ecuador: an area of about 11,000 hectares in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, where a tenacious community of producers cultivates the prized fine flavor cocoa.
Eurochocolate will support, from 2024 to 2026, with an allocation of 90,000 euros, the eco-solidarity project proposed by agronomist and cooperator Pierre Molinari. Since 2016, the year of the opening of his chocolate factory in Mindo, he has been dedicated to improving the precarious living conditions of the campesinos gathered in the Asociación de Protección y Rescate de Cacao Fino de Aroma (ASO.P.Y.R.C.F.A.).
To welcome the public, at the entrance of the space, there will be a maxi reproduction of the historic water bottle found at the Mayo-Chinchipe archaeological site. The lovers of the Food of the Gods will be guided into an evocative setting, with the opportunity to participate in an original Cocoa Ceremony or the new CabossaLab, before trying their hand at live preparation of delicious treats at the exclusive Chocolate Factory signed FBM and expertly conducted by the chocolatiers of Be Well.
The highly popular Chocolate Factory returns with a new format to follow live, step by step, the chocolate production process – from cocoa bean to bar – with master chocolatiers ready to reveal to the public the secrets that make the Food of the Gods so irresistible. But there’s more: this year, inside the Laboratory, it will be possible to participate in mini chocolate processing sessions called Be Experience.
Also awaited is the return of Chocolate Sculptures, one of the most loved events by the Eurochocolate audience, allowing them to witness, during the two Saturdays and Sundays, the live processing of four maxi blocks of Icam chocolate weighing 11 quintals each, ready to take shape thanks to the skill of expert sculptors, and then remain on display during the event.
The story will continue at the two exclusive themed stages. The first is dedicated to Cooking Shows, featuring renowned chefs, pastry chefs, chocolatiers, and experts, such as Frau and Ernst Knam. The Chocolate King will engage in the live creation of three types of chocolates with an inevitable final tasting. “I am pleased to return to Perugia,” says Ernst Knam, “because it is an event that moves in the direction of creating culture about cocoa and chocolate through a series of unmissable events and initiatives capable of engaging the numerous audience with small cocoa and chocolate producers as well as with large international brands.”
The appointment will be preceded by the presentation of the new book by Alessandra Mion, aka Frau Knam.
Among other guests is Luca Montersino, with his delicious single-origin Ecuadorian 70% chocolate ice cream on a stick, the protagonist of an unmissable tasting.
To enrich the packed schedule of live shows is also the presence of 6 APEI Master Pastry Chef Ambassadors. Thanks to the renewed collaboration with the association founded by Iginio Massari and Gino Fabbri, which gathers the best professionals and the most exclusive excellences in pastry and the world of sweets, there will be a succession on stage between Monday, October 16, and Sunday, October 22: Eugenio Morrone, Francesco Elmi, Salvatore Varriale, Denis Buosi, Paolo Staccoli, and Francesco Mastroianni.
Thanks to the Project signed by the Region of Umbria – Managing Authority of the Rural Development Complement, the Ivan’s Recipes program with chef Ivan Alunni Pasquali is planned; Grappa & Chocolate, curated by ANAG for unmissable pairings between the sweetness of Vanini chocolate and the strong taste of grappas and spirits; tastings signed by Lindt Maître Chocolatier; in-depth sessions on Chocolate: history, characteristics, and pairings, and the Sensory Code of Chocolate signed by the International Institute of Chocolatiers.
Unmissable also is the chocolate of the Molise company Dolceamaro: between tradition and innovation and the Tropical Chocolate Experience designed by Vegan Master Pastry Chef Emanuele di Biase, ready to create a selection of colorful vegan chocolates based on original ingredients that combine the tartness of some fruits with the sweetness of chocolate.
Among the novelties of this year is the area, initiatives, and tastings curated by Cacao of Excellence. Led by the Alliance between Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Cacao of Excellence is an international research for development organization based in Rome. The Alliance provides research-based solutions in over 70 countries, harnessing agricultural biodiversity and sustainably transforming food systems.
The international dimension is also at the center of the highly anticipated Choco Trips, the numerous events proposed in collaboration with the Cacao Solution network: unmissable opportunities for in-depth exploration with masterclasses and guided tastings featuring the distant cocoa-producing countries.
Also, the circuit of typical Umbrian catering GUSTUM – Taste, Uniqueness, History, and Traditions will be present at Eurochocolate to promote Umbrian “good living.” The delicious appointment at Umbriafiere will be an opportunity to introduce the general public to the 45 local companies including typical restaurants, agricultural companies with agritourism, small artisan producers, and points of sale with tastings that have joined the Gustum disciplinary and that are characterized by the ethics and sustainability of entrepreneurial activity, food safety, and professional and well-kept hospitality service.
Choco Lab is, instead, the second stage dedicated to those who want to get hands-on and learn the most delicious tricks of the trade, but also attend strictly themed meetings and presentations.
In particular, every day there will be tastings “More or less good: what does it depend on?” guided by Roberto Caraceni, Chocolate Taster and inventor of the Chocolate Tasting Plate, to acquire the main hints of organoleptic analysis of chocolate.
Daily appointments are also ready from Choco Trip by Gelato Contemporaneo, with the participation, on the two weekends, of Special Guests Luca Bernardini and Maria Fernanda Di Gacobbe, Rosario D’Angelo and Elisa Chillemi, Gianfranco Cutelli and Manlio Larotonda, Loretta Fanella and Armando Canelon.
Then there are tastings of Wine & Chocolate curated by Assosommelier, starring Vanini chocolate. And again, the events signed voglioCioccolato – “There is dark and dark: we teach you how to taste it, you test your senses.”
Among the novelties of this year are the events signed “The evolution of Raw Chocolate in the company of Matù Cioccolato,” focusing on the increasingly appreciated raw chocolate, obtained from non-roasted cocoa beans and, precisely because processed at low temperatures, capable of preserving its precious nutritional qualities.
There will also be spaces dedicated to major brands: Perugina present with the inevitable Baci©, including the new flavors Caffè Avvolgente and Amaretto, and the delicious KitKat snacks; Lindt, featuring the new Lindt Excellence tablets, the result of the meeting between Lindt’s finest dark chocolate and crunchy ingredients, and the brand-new Lindt Choco Wafer range; Icam with the new line of Vanini Tasting Experience tablets, designed to amaze and satisfy with a new taste experience, where the four colors of chocolate (white, caramel, milk, and dark) merge with ingredients of vibrant consistencies.
A novelty this year is the Cocoa Route area, dedicated to discovering the suggestive Routes of Cocoa. In collaboration with Travel Agencies and Tour Operators, both national and international, specialized in sustainable tourism, the initiative will promote experiential itineraries in cocoa-producing countries, focusing on the best tourist offers oriented towards biodiversity protection and able to exclusively narrate the territories linked to the world of cocoa and chocolate.
The Mexican state of Tabasco returns to Eurochocolate – the guest of honor of the previous edition – to promote the 12th Chocolate Festival, which will take place next November.
Many sweet novelties are also in the Chocolate Show, the pavilion dedicated to the extensive range of products for sale, with a total of 153 companies and about 5,000 references. Starting with the new creation signed Costruttori di Dolcezze, “Break in case of abstinence”: the original tablet composed of a romantic composition of chocolate hearts and paired with a cute hammer to be uncovered when needed to compensate for sudden affection shortages.
In the foreground is the sweet and imposing Italy of Chocolate, over 13 meters long, dedicated to the main excellences of Made in Italy chocolate, with an area reserved for the Piedmontese district – home of the famous Gianduiotto – and a space dedicated to Modica Chocolate.
The journey to the distant Lands of Cocoa will continue in the completely renewed Eurochocolate World area, which, in collaboration with the Cacao Solution network, will see the presence of over 25 chocolate producers from the main countries of origin of cocoa.
Unmissable is also the MercaVino space, an area where you can get to know, taste, compare, and buy a selection of the best regional wine proposals, thanks to the participation of 18 wineries.
The fun and suggestions offered by chocolate do not stop here. Even the Funny Chocolate Pavilion, through the creative presence of Costruttori di Dolcezze, renews itself and here, Albert Einstein will find space with the show titled “Albert and the mystery of quantum chocolate”: experiments, laboratories, and games based on theme enigmas that, inspired by the escape room format, will delve into the characteristics and curiosities of the delicious Food of the Gods.