November 4, 2009

A Visit to the Chocolate Museum

Barcelona, Spain - For a place known for great sights, shopping and beaches, food enthusiasts will also love Barcelona for one good reason, the chocolate museum!

The Museu de la Xocolata or Chocolate Museum is promoted by the Provincial Guild of Pastry Makers of Barcelona. It will take you on a tour of the origins of chocolate, its medicinal and aphrodisiac properties and its nutritional value. But what's more to see in the museum are the excellent works of art all made in chocolate!

Take a look at how chocolate artists turn this sweet treat into well-known cartoons.

Wall-E and Eve

Tin Tin and Captain Haddock

Do you remember the time when Homer Simpson graciously munched on potato chips while floating inside a space shuttle on his way to the moon? These artists certainly did, so they made a chocolate sculpture of it.

Chicken Little and his ever confident personality.

The characters from Asterix

Here are the other showcases that can be found in the Chocolate Museum.

The Chocolate Museum has designed several activites like the chocolate workshop, where a professional explains the characteristcs of chocolate, how it is worked, how it is handled and how a piece is made. A tasting workshop is also available where professional explains the different varieties of chocolate, their varieties and needless to some, how it should be enjoyed. If you plan to bring kids along, the dramatized visit will have the Goddess Chocoatl to guide the group of kids around the museum and introduce them to the magical world of chocolates by telling stories and playing games. The route to the discovery of cocoa is a tour based on a set of clues which will allow the young boys and girls to participate in a story which takes them back in time enroute to the present chocolate which we all know of. Of course, a simple guided visit where a person narrates and tours you around the area is also possible.

The best part of it is that a chocolate bar serves as your entrance ticket. :)

October 18, 2009

The Biggest Bakery Show in the World (Part 2)

The bakery expo as a whole was great, but what really kept me coming back tirelessly day after day was the iba cup 2009. It is a baking competition of different countries, each represented by two chosen bakers or pastry chefs to show off their talent in making a set of baked products. The competition's list includes breads, small baked products, fine yeast dough pastries, danish pastries, puff pastry products and a showpiece.

Take a look at these photos from the competition and you will truly see the wonders of the bakery world.

The following are the showpiece/artistic breads entered from the respective countries:










All products in the competition are made from ingredients frequently used in bakeries or pastry shops. Food coloring is not allowed, which means that the chefs had to improvise by using other edible ingredients to attain their desired colors.

European breads like the baguette, ciabatta, rye bread and other lean (no sugar) doughs are nice to look at, but as I see it, what really caught the attention of the people (aside from the showcase) are the danish pastries and small baked products. So here are the ones which are worthy enough for your eyes to feast on.







No, staring at them long enough won't make it come to life... :)

October 10, 2009

The Biggest Bakery Show in the World (Part 1)

Dusseldorf, Germany - Every three years, thousands of people gather in Germany to acquaint themselves with the newest trends and innovations in the world of baking. "Iba", the leading international trade fair for bakery and confectionery trade, was held for a whole week early this month.

There were over a thousand exhibitors from all over the globe who used this golden opportunity to showcase their newest products. The iba occupied nine of the seventeen interconnected event areas with each one similar to the size of the World Trade Center in Pasay City, one of the country's biggest exhibition halls today.

Being there for the first time since I entered the baking industry, I was amazed with the size of the venue, the number of people who attended, and of course, the beautiful showcases of products by the exhibitors.

I was curious on how our suppliers were doing, so I made it a point to see them on the very first day of my visit in the expo. My first stop was Demarle, I knew that my eyes were in for a treat. So I was wondering, with the talented cast of chefs who work hand in hand with them, what mouth-watering treats could they have in display?

Here are some of the pastries in their showcase:

What a surprise! Pascal Tepper, who demonstrated in the Sonlie Baking Center this June, was there making the display.

Next stop, Martin Braun. With their wide range of premixes, my expectations from them were quite high. Sure enough, they didn't let me down with these pastries in their showcase:

I hope you didn't view the pictures with an empty stomach. :)