The Smooth Festival of Chocolate in Sydney is an entire weekend shamelessly dedicated to the cacao brand of sweet tooth. The festival launched in 2014 and Sydney's appetite for it has grown each year. Last year a whopping 112,000 chocolate lovers hit The Rocks for treats and tastings from numerous bean-to-bar and artisan producers, as well as cooking demonstrations from some of the country's best chocolatiers and chefs.
There'll be more than 80 stalls at this year's festival - but don't expect blocks and bars alone. Chocolate ice-cream, Dutch pancakes, macarons and, perhaps the main act, a limited-edition chocolate version of Black Star Pastry's Insta-famous strawberry and watermelon cake are all part of the program. The luxed-up version of the Black Star cake is made with dark chocolate dacquoise layers, white chocolate mousse and white chocolate Valrhona pearl crisps and shavings.
"What makes the original cake so special is its delicate floral notes and light texture," says Black Star chef and owner Christopher Thé. "The mouthfeel of this recipe is far richer than the original, but still surprisingly light and full of vibrant fruit flavour."
This is the second year Black Star has participated in the event; last year they débuted the chocolate version of the cake and sold more than 3,000 pieces over two days. "This year we're planning to bring double that amount," says Thé.
Black Star will be joined over the weekend by chefs including Anna Polyviou (Shangri-La Hotel), Carlos Heng (Mak Mak Macarons) and GT's food and style director Emma Knowles to host various cooking demonstrations on the Callebaut Test Kitchen stage. And how will Thé be taking five and getting his chocolate fix? "Watching the view of the harbour with a glass of Champagne and a slice of our cake," he says. See you there.
Smooth Festival of Chocolate, Saturday 10 September, 10am-8pm and Sunday 11 September, 10am-6pm; The Rocks, Sydney, smooth.com.au