Winter days lead to chocolate festivals, and I took the chance to get to Gradisca's ChocoFest. Actually it was a small event, but there was such a large variety of sweets and art and crafts that I had a very good time. At the centre of Gradisca d'Isonzo - a small village close to Gorizia, a beautiful city with an eventful past - a big tent awaits you every year to give you a whole day of chocolate and sugar immersion. For greedy people like me it is like being in paradise, but it is also an artistic exhibition of the chocolate shop's masterpieces. While you are sipping the two flavours drinking chocolate (my friend and I have been told we could have the white and the dark ones mixed together), you can admire glass windows with delicious works carved in different shapes: shoes, guitars, handcuffs and small animals like sheep, pigs and little mice. The most appealing ones were the coffin-like shapes, skulls and iPhones on the two shades of black and white. Not to mention the funny paws and stars on sticks. Opposite to those displays, you could see a more colourful exhibition of Belgian delicacies and macarons and sweets, put in an elegant order on a tiny banquet, I may say.
Other artisans preferred to flaunt coconut, chocolate balls and iced cookies on golden trays, where little angels and hello kitty "statues" were gazing at the crowd. In a corner, small Disney characters were adding cuteness and lightness to the bicolour atmosphere.
Every taste is going to be pleased here, whether if you are looking for chunks of any chocolate or you are craving for Cremino, the typical three-layered Piedmontese sweet square or the Sicilian Cioccolato, which is derived from a typical mixture created in the Modica town.
A second tent hosted events like fashion shows, culinary and kitchen decorations and cooking demonstrations, but I was attracted by the spice shop. As I have a vegan sister, I bought few grams of ginger, cumin, curcuma, saffron and curry for a total of 23 Euros. But you can stay there to get inebriated by all of those magic scents, which included peppermint, saffron and cinnamon.
Then, I noticed a queue in front of the Hungarian Cannolo cookers cabin. I had already heard about this characteristic dolce made in Hungary, under the traditional name of kürtöskalács. Basically, it is rolled dough baked on charcoal fire and it's empty inside, but you can decide how to garnish it: with hazelnuts pralines, vanilla, coconut or caramel topping. So delicious and huge!
How to digest all that peak of sugar? Well, walking into the city centre and get into shopping is a good idea, but don't forget everyone is welcome to stand in the biting cold and cheer for their favourite dog champion, who is training and competing at the playground ring.