If you're a chocoholic, why not join the 200,000 fans of the sweet delight who are expected to converge on the small Portuguese town of Obidos this month for the International Chocolate Festival? This is the tenth year of the event, and the special anniversary festivities are dedicated to Disneyland Paris, while the theme park's twentieth anniversary provides yet more reason to celebrate.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each of the four weekends from March 2nd to March 25th, the festival activities will be in full swing with exhibits, parades, shows and competitions and a host of other family-friendly fun. With Nestle as an official sponsor, the Chocolate House awaits younger visitors with a whole range of games and delightful surprises. Stunning sculptures carved and moulded from chocolate by skilled chocolatiers will be on display featuring characters and scenes from Disney favourites such as Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan and Cars as well as the ever youthful Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
Fashion shows have become an expected part of the Festival and this year will include costumes inspired by the Disney princesses and count on the collaboration of popular Portuguese designer Rita Bonaparte. New to the Chocolate Festival this year will be an ice bar and body painting and face painting demonstrations. There will be cake-design demonstrations, too – an art that aims to appeal to both the eye and the palate, and, another first for this year, Nhora de la Pava will teach a master cake-design course. As usual, there will be competitions aimed at professionals, as well as three different level courses for fans who want to learn some of the chocolatier's secrets for themselves.
Local restaurants will be supporting the event with special menus featuring dishes guaranteed to appeal to chocolate fans, and the whole event will take place in the charming medieval walled town of Obidos, just an hour north of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. Whether you're a chocolate lover, or just want an excuse for a fun weekend away, the International Chocolate Festival is a tempting idea.
Obidos Chocolate Festival
Tickets 5 euros for children aged 6 to 11 years and 7 euros for adults