This weekend sees the Brighton Chocolate Festival, part of the Brighton and Hove Food and Drink Festival come to New Road, behind the Pavilion.
I imagine the exhibitors today were quite relieved that it's not as hot as it was last weekend - I'm guessing 23 degrees would have led to some rather alarming meltage!
Conditions were perfect - light cloud, about 15 degrees, no chance of rain. The combination of that and the idea of free chocolate served to bring rather a lot of people to the event - it was rammed!
It's crammed into a fairly small space meaning that each stand can have a rather offputting crowd to fight your way through. However, if you can be bothered to wait (or elbow your way in) you're rewarded with some delicious goodies. Most of the stands are from local, small companies although there was one from a London company who currently supply Selfridges. There were delights on offer from Chocoholly, Artisan du Chocolat, Cocoapod, Philip Maes and many others.
There was a huge variety of types of chocolate on display - milk, plain, white, raw, 99% cocoa, flavoured, as well as some interesting shapes: fish, bunnies, owls, chickens, pods, lollipops, sausage rolls and Yorkshire puddings (!) as well as the classic bars, discs and eggs.
Almost every stand had plates of tasters out - I thought the ones that chose not to had missed a real marketing opportunity. A lot of the products weren't cheap and I certainly wouldn't spend upwards of a fiver on a bar of chocolate without tasting it first. It was clear that the stalls with tasters were more popular too. That surely serves to prove the value of freebies and the insatiable appetite of the general public for chocolate!
If you're now salivating, then pop down to Brighton tomorrow between 10am and 6pm for day 2.
For info, there's also the Made in Brighton Festival out at the Marina.