This year, Jeddah Super Dome hosted the inaugural Salon du Chocolat, an annual trade show for the chocolate industry sponsored by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The event provided chocolatiers with a unique platform to showcase their artistic abilities; there were many spectacular masterpieces on display fashioned from chocolate and dough. There were also various chocolate-related seminars, displays, and talks.
Arab News quoted Saudi pastry chef and chocolatier Rida Al-Amri as saying, "It is not an easy field and there are many difficulties, but this is how creativity develops.” Al-Amri has over 13 years of expertise in the confectionary industry. He has worked at several of Saudi Arabia's premier hotels throughout the course of his career, including Rosewood, Assila Rocco Forte, and Ritz Carlton.
In one of the exhibits, eight chocolate-covered abayas made by chefs from all over the world, including Al-Amri, whose design featured leaves and flowers, were inspired by the traditional female apparel of the Arabian Gulf. The goal of the Chocolate Abaya Show was to educate viewers and participants about various methods for creating and decorating chocolate. Some were handcrafted, while others employed inventive and colorful molding techniques.
Top pastry chefs offered guests the chance to learn how to prepare decadent sweets during the event's courses on chocolate and dates. Although this event is French in origin and centers on chocolate, Chef Yasser Jad, president of the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association, told Arab News that it was crucial that dates were highlighted as a key ingredient in desserts because they are one of the nation's most significant natural resources and go well with chocolate.
“This year, I infused arikah — a Saudi dish particularly made in winter. I created a recipe using chestnut instead of wheat and coated it with dark and white chocolate. It was really good; this was an idea that came to me during Salon du Chocolat.”
He continued by saying that the Kingdom's hosting of the Salon du Chocolat is a fantastic opportunity for Saudi pastry chefs all eager to participate in this global chocolate festival.
He further said, “The beauty of chocolate requires a sense of elegance.”