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Wellington festival inspired by a passion for chocolate

Aug 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Featured Article

Wellington Chocolate Festival 2012 PHOTO: Jeff McEwan

AFTER the sell-out success of the first New Zealand Chocolate Festival in 2011, the second is almost here, and will be held at the Wellington Hotel InterContinental this weekend.

EVENT ORGANISERS: Iva Sajdl and Frank Stoltenberg

Organisers Frank Stoltenberg and Iva Sajdl set out in 2011 to create a festival that was unlike any other food event in New Zealand, one that was totally dedicated to chocolate.They hit the road and in their travels found that NZ had lots of hidden chocolate treasures in unlikely places and passionate people making them.

“There is a whole fledging industry of people who make beautiful handmade artisan chocolate and that is happening in the oddest places,” says Mr Stoltenberg.

“Great Kiwi stories of people who have a passion for the product, who have maybe learnt about chocolate from their parents, who have come from somewhere else, who are of European origin, or South American origin, and they have brought these skills to New Zealand to make chocolate.”

Amongst their finds were three businesses situated in the Hutt Valley, who are specialists in their own right.

Bookfeast, Yummy Charms, and Go Cake Yourself are all taking part in the Chocolate Festival. Based in Petone, Bookfeast is a book shop completely full of cookbooks. It is one of only two bookshops of its kind in New Zealand.

CHOCOLATE BOOKS: Sold by Bookfeast

The business was bought from the founder a year ago by Sandra Young.

Although she wasn’t creator of the shop on Jackson Street herself, she is continuing the legacy with her passion for books.

“I have always loved reading in general, but especially cookbooks, I have heaps at home,” she says.

Ms Young has a stall at the festival featuring books by New Zealand and international authors on making chocolates, baking, desserts, ice-cream.

Yummy Charms is another stall at the festival, specialising in hand made jewellery inspired by sweet treats such as cupcakes and waffles.

Wainuiomata creative jeweller Anne-Marie Anderson sells her pieces online.

“I have sold a few pieces overseas, mainly to the USA and Canada. The majority of my buyers are from New Zealand though,” says Miss Anderson.

Rainbow cake earrings PHOTO:Yummy Charms

She makes ear-rings, necklaces, and bracelets with a product called Fimo, a brand of Polymer Clay.

She says: “It’s moulded and then baked in the oven to harden.”

“I was at the 2011 Chocolate Festival and it was so much fun, I can’t wait to do it again this year.”

Anna Schoulten has been creating cakes for nine years. She runs a boutique coffee lounge and makes novelty cakes for weddings, wedding shows, birthdays, and corporate events held at Te Papa.

“If you can dream it,” says Mrs Schouten, from Go Cake Yourself in Upper Hutt, “I can probably make it for you.”

None of her work will be at the festival, but she will be sharing some of her tips and tricks on making and decorating cakes.

CAT IN THE HAT: Novelty cake at Go Cake Yourself

“I am going to be covering a chocolate mud cake with chocolate fondant,” says Mrs Schoulten.

One of her more interesting cakes was Cat in the Hat themed. She has also made cakes with up to 24 tiers that can take a week to bake and decorate.

“The roses can take up to three days to make, they need to set in between, and you’ve got to paint them.”

Organiser Mr Stoltenberg says wasabi, thyme, coriander, sea salt were some of the great combinations of chocolate flavours available last year.

“There is a chocolate for everyone. And that’s what this festival is really about, allowing people to find out what they like and to try something new.”

The New Zealand Chocolate Festival is on from 24th-26th August. Tickets are limited, cost $25 and can be bought online at the official Chocolate Festival website.



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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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  1. Yummy – Your story has given me Chocolate cravings, Emily!

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