words by Carol King
Late October is when Perugia is transformed into a haven for chocaholics thanks to the Eurochocolate Festival.
Held annually, Eurochocolate is in its 19th edition and is one of the largest chocolate festivals in Europe. Catering to chocolate lovers, importers and chocolate makers, it is the most important chocolate festival in Umbria and perhaps all Italy. This year Eurochocolate runs from 19-28 October.
During the 10-day festival the streets and squares of Perugia’s historic centre fill with a million visitors keen to see, taste and smell anything and everything to do with chocolate. Visitors can enjoy free tastings of existing and experimental products, guided tours, workshops by chefs and confectioners, huge chocolate sculptures and even a chocolate massage. As well as being the ultimate destination for chocolate aficionados, the festival also mounts exhibitions that explain the history of chocolate from its development by the Maya to the present day, and the health benefits of eating it.
Eurochocolate adopts a different theme each year and in 2012 the focus is on social networking and new technologies. Innovations include the official festival ‘gadget’, the ‘I-Choc’, which contains small gourmet chocolates packaged to resemble the colorful icons found on next-generation smartphones.
Among the companies displaying their mouth-watering wares are Perugina, Lindt and Caffarel.