Wednesday 9 July 2008

Hunter Valley Gardens to host heavenly Festival for chocolate lovers

Hunter Valley Gardens and Ivanhoe Winery have joined forces to host a fabulous Chocolate Festival to be held on the 2nd and 3rd of August at Hunter Valley Gardens.   The Festival will immerse visitors in a world of chocolate and guarantee to delight the taste buds of all visitors.

The two day extravaganza will be held in the grounds of Hunter Valley Gardens and feature all things chocolate, including Masterclasses and cooking demonstrations, wine and chocolate pairing classes and heavenly chocolate fountains scattered throughout the Gardens .

Ed Halmagyi otherwise known as 'Fast Eddy' resident Chef from Better Homes and Gardens will host all main stage activities located at the bottom of the Formal Garden. 'Fast Eddy' will deliver demonstrations of mouth watering chocolate inspired dishes of his own throughout each day of the festival.

Nick Vivian, Head Chef at Hunter Valley Gardens says, "The Chocolate Festival is a fantastic day out for the whole family.  The vibrant festival atmosphere coupled with an abundance of sweet treats will provide a fabulous culinary experience for young and old."

Previously held at Ivanhoe Winery from 1999 until 2005 the Chocolate Festival has been a huge success with over 10,000 visitors to the event in 2005.  

Events and activities that will be taking place across the weekend include:

Market stalls

Stalls will be positioned throughout the gardens and feature items such as chocolate coated ice cream, hot chocolate stands, fudge, cakes, truffles, chocolate coated fruit, and delightful Hunter Valley wines.  Hand made chocolate soaps, candles and cosmetics will be available to sample and buy.

Master classes and cooking demonstrations

Expert chefs, chocolatiers and pastry cooks will demonstrate and educate visitors on the perfect chocolate recipes and desserts.  All recipes will need to be tasted by guests for their stamp of approval of course!

Unique pairings

Hunter Valley wine connoisseurs will be on hand to offer advice on the perfect wine and chocolate pairings, providing the ultimate food and wine experience.

Chocolate fountain frenzy

Fruit and marshmallows will be available to purchase and can be dipped in a range of chocolate fountains that will be scattered throughout the Gardens.  The fountains are sure to be a favourite for all ages.

Kidzone area

There will be lots of activities, entertainment and chocolate sampling for the kids to be involved in throughout the Gardens.

The History of Chocolate Walk

The 'History of Chocolate' walk will provide details, dates and interesting chocolate facts displayed on sign boards throughout the festival grounds that will leave you feeling like a true chocolate expert.


A variety of music, dance and roaming entertainment will take place including street performers, face painters, a barbershop quartet and musicians who will ensure the Festival is not only alive with the smell of chocolate but with lively music and entertainment.

'Best Hot chocolate in the Valley' competition

Hot chocolate providers in the Hunter Valley are invited to enter their best hot chocolate into the inaugural competition for their chance to win two nights accommodation bed and breakfast at Harrigan's River Lodge at Harrington Waters in a premier Riverview spa suite and dinner for two on one night valued at $650.00 The runner up will receive a gift hamper from Piazza valued at $300.

This competition will take place on Saturday and Sunday at 11am and will be judged by celebrity chef Eddy Halmagyi from Better Homes and Gardens, Hunter Valley Gardens executive and award winning chef Nick Vivian, barista expert from Piazza and a member of the public.

'Best chocolate dessert' competition

Chefs and Apprentices are invited to take part in the chocolate dessert competition which will be held at 10am on Sunday 3rd August. The competition is sponsored by Callebaut chocolate with the winner receiving the amazing prize of a trip to Singapore for three days training at the Callebaut Chocolate Academy valued at $4,000.  Second place getter will win a 3kg chocolate fondue melter valued at $600 with the best dessert made by an Apprentice Chef receiving three books written by Master Chocolatier Jean Pierre Wybauw valued at $300.

The competition will be judged by celebrity chef Eddy Halmagyi from Better Homes and Gardens, Hunter Valley Gardens executive and award winning chef Nick Vivian and award winning pasty chef Dean Gibson.

Entry to the Gardens is $19.90 per adult, $12 for children between 6 – 12 years of age with children 5 years and under admitted free.  For further information regarding the Chocolate Festival call Hunter Valley Gardens on 02 4998 4000 or visit

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