Fall has always been New York’s best kept secret. While the city swells with tourists through the summer and again during the end-of-year holidays, and the spring thaw never seems to come quickly enough, autumn here is divine: The air is crisp but not unbearably cold and the crowds are minimal.
With the arrival of Salon du Chocolat NY, fall in the city is sweeter than ever. The international celebration of chocolate in its seemingly endless forms and flavors is coming to the Javits Center next weekend, November 16 and 17 (adults: $25 advance/$35 onsite; children 6–12: $10 advance/$12 onsite; children under 6: free).
Originating in Paris 25 years ago, Salon du Chocolat is a global phenomenon that brings dozens of chocolatiers, artisans, designers, pastry chefs and culinary experts from around the world together to share their takes on cacao’s long beloved offspring. The result is a chocolate immersion and education like no other—featuring the world-renowned chocolate fashion show and live sculpture carvings by the “chocolate genius” Paul Joachim and chocolatier Håkan Mårtensson.
This year’s fashion show (Saturday, 4 p.m.) theme, Cocoa Capsule: A Fantastical Fashion Time Warp, is sure to bring historical twists and futuristic interpretations to the usually decadent and outrageous display of couture made almost entirely of chocolate. If you miss the live event, the ensembles will be on display through the end of the show on Sunday.
Throughout the weekend, chocolate will come to life as Paul Joachim transforms 400 pounds of chocolate (donated by Endangered Species Chocolate) into an intricate six-foot design, paying homage to one of the city’s most cherished landmarks. Master chocolatier Håkan Mårtensson will also be live-sculpting his trademark chocolate dragons.
In addition to the aforementioned literal pièces de résistance, the SDCNY stages will host pastry demonstrations featuring seasonal recipes such as savory chocolate winter stew, bûche de Noël and holiday pies, as well as sustainable and limited-ingredient recipes like zero-waste vegan chocolate cake. If you’re accompanied by a younger chocolate lover, you’ll want to stop by the Salon du Chocolat Junior area for the hands-on, kid-friendly workshops: Painting with Chocolate invites attendees to create edible art, while Chocolate Clay encourages participants to eat their art.
Topping it all off, the Salon du Chocolat NY lineup will include the beloved Valrhona Hot Chocolate Festival ($10 entry; Saturday, 1:30-3 p.m.), where New York City’s most celebrated pastry chefs will present tastes of innovative hot cocoa recipes created especially for a limited number of SDCNY attendees. A portion of the festival’s proceeds will go to the Food Recovery Network.