Two days totally dedicated to chocolate is what cocoa lovers from all over Italy await in Voghera this weekend. Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 February the city in the province of Pavia will be the setting for Choco Moments, the first edition of the great artisan chocolate festival. An event that already promises to be a success, thanks to one of the most appreciated and consumed foods in the world, not surprisingly considered the “food of the gods”. This definition is due to Linnaeus, who in the eighteenth century formulated the scientific name «Theobroma cacao» («theobroma» in Greek means precisely «food of the gods»). But even well before Linnaeus, cocoa was considered something divine: the name given by the famous Swedish physician, botanist and naturalist – considered the father of the modern scientific classification of living organisms – originates from the fact that the Maya used cocoa beans religious rites. The celebration of chocolate scheduled in Voghera will instead be less sacred and more profane: coinciding with the weekend of the Vogherese carnival, the forty-eight hours aimed at gourmands will be enriched with playful moments made up of jokes, jokes and masks, in full carnival atmosphere. And then workshops for children, cooking shows for adults, interventions by professionals, chocolate tastings of all kinds and origins, all in the heart of the renowned Oltrepò Pavese. In addition to tastings and market exhibitions, the agenda includes cultural meetings aimed at describing chocolate in every possible and imaginable form: from gastronomy to literature, from beauty to cinema, from advertising to history, cocoa will truly be offered in every sauce.
The events on the calendar
The Choco Moments festival is organized by the Oltrepò Lombardo Artisans Association and Ascom Confcommercio, with the patronage of the Municipality of Voghera and the collaboration for some activities of the Voghera Da Scopere association. Among the unmissable events, the appointment on Saturday at 6 pm stands out in which the record-breaking chocolate bar will be presented, characterized by a length of fifteen meters. As for the literary and food encounters, we start with the presentation of the Slow Food guide «Osterie d’Italia 2023» on Saturday 25 February at 17:30 at the Ubik bookshop in Voghera. At the end of the meeting, there will be an aperitif with tasting of chocolate-based desserts to be accompanied by local sweet wine, all offered by the best Oltrepò taverns. At 6 pm, «From Maya cocoa berries to Casa Savoia chocolate» is scheduled, a fascinating exploration of the world of cocoa introduced by the literary agent Alessandra Bazardi and curated by the director of the Natural History Museum of Voghera, Simona Guioli. «We will present a lot of chocolate, we will taste it together and we will tell many curiosities about its history» anticipates Guioli, who to give some taste if not of chocolate at least of succulent information explains us that «chocolate for the Mayas was a coin. They also used it in sacrificial rites together with the blood of the priests. But it was also a food of the gods». The handcrafted bars savored for the occasion are curated by El Teresito, one of the historic pastry shops and roasters of Voghera.
Even Sunday proves to be full of encounters and gourmet moments: on 26 February from 5.30 pm it is the Centro Library that will do the honors, hosting three appointments as part of the focus «Chocolate in cinema, literature and advertising» . The director from Voghera Marco Rosson, author of cult films such as “New Order” (starring Franco Nero) as well as director of the Voghera Film Festival, will analyze the film “Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory” from 1971, placing the original with Gene Wilder compared with Tim Burton’s 2015 remake starring Johnny Depp (actor particularly linked to chocolate-flavored films, given that in 2000 he also starred in the film “Chocolat”). This will be followed by an in-depth analysis on advertising by Emilia Sernagiotto, an advertising creative who has worked for years in international communication agencies, such as J. Walter Thompson and M&C Saatchi, signing famous commercials such as those of Mulino Bianco with Antonio Banderas and the Campari with Zoe Saldana. And the literature chapter will not be missing: speaking of 18th century culture, the literary cafés immediately come to mind, while the chocolate houses are little considered. The latter, born in parallel with the Cafés, were places frequented by aristocrats and men of letters to taste the cocoa drink (so elitist as to become a real status symbol). The transition from food for the few to food for the masses dates back to the end of the industrial revolution, when the transformation from liquid to solid form (the now iconic tablet) was recorded. Both in the cup and in the box of chocolates, it is a dessert linked to some of the most famous literary pages in history, signed by authors such as Carlo Goldoni, Charles Dickens, James Joyce, Jack Kerouac and Gabriel García Márquez, just to name a few . He is even mentioned in “The Betrothed”: Alessandro Manzoni makes Gertrude take “a cup of chocolate” to wake up.
“February 25 and 26 will be the sweetest weekend of the year, with two days dedicated to artisan chocolate that will give our city the importance it deserves,” explains the Councilor for Commerce Maria Cristina Malvicini. «Chocolate is enveloping, deep. It gratifies the mood before the palate, it is thick and creamy and therefore evokes suggestions» says Simona Panigazzi, vice president of Ascom Confcommercio Voghera as well as the soul of Choco Moments. “Chocolate has never been celebrated enough in the dishes on our tables and deserves more extensive experimentation,” adds Panigazzi.
February 24, 2023, 7:00 pm – Updated February 24, 2023, 7:01 pm
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