• Switzerland edition
 
Models don choc frocks for tasty Zurich fashion show
Nicolas Rodet

Models don choc frocks for tasty Zurich fashion show

Published: 30 Mar 2012 15:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Mar 2012 17:40 GMT+02:00

For the opening soirée of the first Salon du Chocolat in Zurich, renowned chocolatiers and pastry chefs applied their skills to fabric in a new twist on haute couture, writes Meritxell Mir.

With a jaw-dropping fashion show, they proved on Thursday evening that chocolate is not just to be savoured, it is also to be flaunted.

French chocolatier Jean-Claude Jeanson and designer Stéphane Martello, alias Mister Crochet, spent 120 hours creating the most spectacular choco-dress to appear on the Zurich catwalk.

As is typical of his style, Martello sought inspiration in nature to create a flamboyant bird’s nest gown from 200 metres of wire covered with tissue. A sort of magician’s hat writ large, the roomy nest concealed three live white pigeons.

As if this weren’t enough to dazzle the fashion aficionados in attendance, Jeanson topped off the creation with the sweetest of floral ornamentations.

Leaves, daisies and roses crafted from chocolate conferred on the dress a romantic touch and sense of lightness that belied the fact the model was wearing a seven-kilogram outfit.

The flowers, though still fragile, were made more resistant by mixing the chocolate with glucose, Jeanson tells The Local.

While the fashion show had an operatic theme, most creators allowed themselves some creative licence.

Geneva-based chocolatier Philippe Pascoët worked together with Swiss designer Elisa Sue to create a Baroque style gown. The pair attached a dark chocolate bustier, decorated with a big white chocolate heart, to a long golden train that “symbolised the foil paper that wraps the bars,” Pascoët tells The Local.

But how could the models even move without breaking their chocolate shells? Jeanson says the trick is the glucose.

“[When warm], the mix becomes malleable, but once it’s dry, it becomes quite rigid,” Pascoët adds.

Choc-master Philippe Bel, based in Lyon, mixed confectionary and chocolate for another bustier innovation. The result was a sensual brassiere made with a combination of dark and milk chocolate and marshmallows. For Bel, the roundness, softness and sweetness of these elements allowed him to “represent the attributes of femininity.”

“I just want to provoke the urge in people to come and savour the marshmallows and the chocolate directly from the model,” he says.

The dozen dresses will be on show at the fair until it closes its doors on Sunday evening.

Anyone with a sweet tooth probably had a hard time resisting Bel’s temptation, even though the Salon is full of other opportunities to sample the classics from Villars, Ladërach or Cailler, as well as new additions and trends from the world of the chocolate.

At the fair, chocolatiers are set to present uncommon blends that merge chocolate with saffron, coriander or thyme as they try to upstage innovators like Boissier.

Not yet present in Switzerland, the Paris-based confectioner offers visitors a chance to try its unique choco-petals. Flavoured with lavender, violet, jasmine, rose and verbena, these colourful little chocolates leave your mouth feeling fresh as a daisy.

Equally astounding is the collection from Belgian Just Chocolate, which offers a variety of pure cocoa pieces with a hint of flavours like mushroom, olive or tobacco.

Tasting them, it does indeed seem these ingredients are contained within, although the manufacturer tells The Local that this is in fact just a tasty illusion. This unorthodox chocolate maker recommends sampling its delights with coffee, wine or the finest Belgian beer.

Although new to the Swiss audience, the cocoa-enriched fashion show has been travelling the world for years as part of the Salon du Chocolat, the world’s largest event dedicated to chocolate.

First opening its doors in Paris in 1995, it has since brought chocolate joy to cities such as Moscow, Tokyo, New York, Shanghai, Madrid and Cairo.

In many ways it seems odd that it took so long for the show to make it to Switzerland, a country that holds the world record for chocolate consumption with an annual average of 12.4 kilograms per person.

“We thought of coming to Geneva ten years ago, but we only managed to get 20 exhibitors,” explains Adeline Vancauwelaert, international director of the fair.

“Back then the economic situation was probably OK, but now the competition is getting harder,” she says.

With so many new countries becoming major chocolate consumers, especially in Asia, the major manufacturers and smaller artisans have to get ready for rising demand, she says.

There are 60 participants in Zurich, a number still far from the 560 that Paris gets every year on average.

“It’s a small number, but when we launched in other cities, we usually had between 40 and 80, so we’re right in the middle,” says Vancauwelaert.

Over the weekend, the first Salon du Chocolat in Switzerland will bring an educational approach to the business of chocolate with conferences, demos with pastry chefs, and plenty of tasting opportunities.

And there’s a bonus for the kids: at Chocoland, they will learn what’s behind their favourite treats as they get to make their own chocolate bars.

Can you resist the temptation?

More information: Salon du chocolat










Meritxell Mir (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss group's bid for cat quotas creates buzz
Photo: Joel Dietle

Swiss group's bid for cat quotas creates buzz

A proposal by a Swiss animal protection group to set a limit of one cat per household in Switzerland is attracting international attention. READ  

Basel tackle Liverpool in Champions League duel
FC Basel coach Paulo Sousa: "We'll be stronger." Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

Basel tackle Liverpool in Champions League duel

Liverpool are confident that they can put a frustrating run of domestic form behind them when they face FC Basel in Switzerland in Champions League Group B football action on Wednesday. READ  

Bern police seek help after boy dies in woods
Köniz church, near where the body was found. Photo: Ikiwaner/Wikimedia Commons

Bern police seek help after boy dies in woods

Police in the canton of Bern on Monday launched a bid for help from the public after the body of a 15-year-old boy was found in the woods near Köniz. READ  

Immigration continues to boost Swiss population
Foreign immigration continues to zoom: crowd watches Swiss air force jet in Bernese Oberland. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/File

Immigration continues to boost Swiss population

Immigration is largely responsible for an increase in Switzerland’s population to 8.14 million at the end of 2013, up just over 100,000 from the previous year, according to latest government figures. READ  

Mediterranean migrant death toll hits new high

More than 3,000 migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean so far this year, more than double the previous peak in 2011, the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration said on Monday. READ  

UBS offers share swap for new holding company
Photo: Martin Abegglen

UBS offers share swap for new holding company

Switzerland’s largest bank UBS is setting up a holding company to allow its operations to be broken up more easily in the event of a financial crisis. READ  

Roche touts new breast cancer drug success
Photo: Roche

Roche touts new breast cancer drug success

A drug developed by Swiss giant Roche to treat an aggressive form of breast cancer has been shown to extend patients' lives by almost 16 months, researchers say. READ  

'Giant's penis' bloom in Basel bigger than ever
Visitors admire bloom of the titan arum. Photo: University of Basel botanical garden.

'Giant's penis' bloom in Basel bigger than ever

An exotic plant known as the “giant’s penis” at the University of Basel’s botanical garden is flowering with its biggest ever bloom, university officials said on Sunday. READ  

Bid to cut VAT on restaurant meals fails
The Cheval Blanc restaurant in Basel: voters oppose reduction in sales tax on restaurant meals. Photo: Switzerland Tourism

Bid to cut VAT on restaurant meals fails

Swiss voters on Sunday massively opposed a bid to reduce the valued-added tax (VAT) charged on food served in Swiss restaurants. READ  

Swiss reject public health insurance plan
Campaign posters promoting a single health insurance public system in Switzerland. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Swiss reject public health insurance plan

As expected, Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a plan to ditch the country's all-private health insurance system and create a publicly-run scheme. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Scientific study rings alarm over wellbeing of Swiss cows with bells
National
Professional Chilean base jumper dives to death in Swiss Alps
Education
ETH Zurich remains top university in Europe: QS world rankings
National
Switzerland's housing vacancy rate jumps: new federal figures
National
Swiss football club fires team masseuse over explicit sex video
National
Geneva police arrest easyJet passenger over hand luggage row
Business & Money
Latest forecasts for Swiss economic growth turn less bullish
Sport
Formula One legend Schumacher to continue treatment at Swiss home
National
Former federal planning official calls for nine Swiss cantons
Features
The Local gets the lowdown on mushroom picking in Switzerland
National
Virgin boss Richard Branson's son rescued from peak of Matterhorn
National
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter's commute turns Twitter sensation
Features
High-tech cameras give dizzy view of Eiger's north face (VIDEO)
Politics
Baden municipal council strips 'nude selfies mayor' of duties
Business & Money
Switzerland stays atop competitiveness table for sixth year
National
Federal parliament secretary agrees to step down over nude selfies
Sponsored Article
Car insurance made easy online with St Bernard
National
Swiss residents pick Swedes as ideal European soul mates: survey
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
National
Swiss policeman belatedly honoured for saving Jews from Holocaust
National
'Suicide tourists' to Switzerland double in three years: study
National
Swiss Post SMS scheme gets stamp of approval after pilot project
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,096
jobs available