Any event which presents a diverse range of visually fascinating and fabulous tasting chocolate against a unique backdrop is bound to attract large numbers of people. Following the experience gained at last year's première, the Koblenz Chamber of Skilled Crafts and Trades (HwK) and the city council have once more joined forces to open up the gates of the Electoral Palace to the "Championnat du Chocolat à Coblence". Excellent exhibition pieces by chocolatiers from all over Germany again fired the enthusiasm of several thousand visitors at the weekend. Once those in attendance had finished feasting their eyes, there were also plenty of treats for the taste buds at the numerous sales stands. Wine and spirits were also available alongside the high-end chocolate bars, pralines, and truffles.
As well as being drawn to the many exhibition pieces and stalls, visitors were fascinated by the various chocolate competitions held. Categories included "Freestyle" and "Artistry", and people were happy to wait in long queues to grab a personal word with the experts. The pieces conjured up by the participants at the Electoral Palace left a lasting impression on everyone. The sight of the intricate work involved and the sheer amount of time needed to produce such works of art certainly led to quite a few amazed faces. A "simple blossom" on a chocolate sculpture might easily mean several hours of toil. A whole artistic creation can take between 60 and 100 hours, depending on size and structure.
Joachim Schäfer, a pastry cook and master baker from the Koblenz HwK summed things up succinctly. "There is nowhere else where you can see the work, patience, instinctive feeling and passion of every individual pastry cook and trainee at such close hand". Joachim has been excited about his chosen craft for many years and is also delighted with the visitor response. Chamber President Kurt Krautscheid also pointed to the positive and supporting effect that the "chocolate championships" had been able to generate. "Today's event allows us to use one craft trades occupation to show the amount of diversity on offer within the sector. But it also enables us to take responsibility for helping to foster up-and-coming talent. In times when we are seeing increasing academisation, the craft trades present an opportunity for everyone to pursue their personal career pathway".
The weekend provided a mixture of opportunities for young and old to sample the wares and get actively involved. The artistic exhibition pieces on display showcased the whole spectrum and many different facets of a craft trade which is just as diverse as the product to which it devotes itself. The event was able to promote the craft trade of pastry making in the best possible light and on a big stage. The final highlight of the event was the announcement of the winners of the two competitions. Awards were presented in the categories of "Artistry" and "Freestyle". The former was aimed at fully qualified pastry chefs and master craftsmen, whilst the latter was designed to appeal to the younger members of the trade.