Sydney finds its sweet spot

Smoothfm’s experiential arena saw more than 110,000 people turn out for the second annual Smooth Festival of Chocolate in The Rocks.

With returning partner Callebaut and Arnott’s Tim Tam on board for the first time, together with ambassador’s Adriano Zumbo and Anna Polyviou, the weekend food festival posted a 63 per cent increase on last year’s attendance, with more than 5000 photos posted on Instagram under the #smoothchocfest hash tag.

Queues formed throughout the smooth festival in First Fleet Park as guests enjoyed chocolate creations from more than 19 stall holders including Black Star Pastry’s renowned strawberry watermelon cake and N2 Extreme Gelato’s collaboration with Anna Polyviou; a chocolate wagon wheel biscuit with raspberry sauce, fresh cut strawberries an meringues.

The Callebaut Test Kitchen returned to showcase some of the best pastry and dessert chefs demonstrate their signature chocolate dishes, including Le Renaissance’s Julia Taylor, InterContinental Hotel Sydney’s Tamas Palmer and Double Bay’s Julien Pouteau, and Black Star Pastry’s Christopher Thé.

As part of the Callebaut Young Inspirers competition, young pastry chefs posted pictures of their best creations on social media for their chance to perform in the Test Kitchen, with a training course at Savour School in Melbourne up for grabs. Read the Top Gong feature on page 72 for an interview with the winner, law student and passionate baker James Sideris.

“The smooth festival was bigger and better this year round,” F.Mayer Imports’ Gary Willis said.

“In among these chocolate heros was James, who created the ultimate chocolate muffin, with samples of choc on top of choc for all spectators. There are great things ahead for this choc genius.”

NOVA Entertainment Sydney station operations director Luke Minto said the partnership with Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority have created a, “chocolate monster”.

“The strategy from this success is to extend the smoothfm brand to relevant content that appeals to a huge audience. We are already planning for 2016 and look forward to delivering again for our existing and new partners,” he said.

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