One of the things we missed last year is the Chocolate Festival in Versoix so this year despite the rain we bundled up & got ready to go to the biggest chocolate festival in Switzerland. Don’t worry it’s not that big or tiring. It’s a perfect thing to do as a family and even small kids.
Le Festival du Chocolate in French and Festichoc for short is the biggest and oldest annual chocolate festival in Switzerland. It happens in the small town of Versoix, Geneva, and has more than 30 chocolatiers from the Lac Léman area exhibit their sweet delights.
The nearby streets going into the Festichoc will be closed so it’s good to take public transport. We were so lucky our friends live nearby and we could park at their place.
This year there were 2 tents. The first tent seemed full so we went to the other tent.
They have porta potties for those who need to use the toilet.
This tent seemed more chill so we went here first.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Entrance is free
- It’s a family event with lots of activities for children, like the giant chocolate sculpture, egg hunt & chocolate portrait. CLICK HERE to see other permanent activities.
- Some chocolatiers even have activities for the children in their booths. Feel free to inquire.
- There’s a lot of free tasting and a lot of things you will want to buy. Bring money and don’t eat too much before going.
- There is a hall for chocolate sculptures which we no longer had the energy to do, but it’s not inside the 2 tents.
There were loads of booths and so many things to see. It can be overwhelming at first but we just did it systematically, and went around in a counterclockwise motion in each tent.
But what really caught our eye were these chocolate fountains. You can choose between milk chocolate or dark chocolate. We got the dark chocolate and it was unfortunately too dark for him. I recommend getting the milk chocolate if a child will also be eating it.
You can choose from 3 kinds: strawberry, waffles, or half of each.
We chose the waffle thinking DiploBaby would like it, but it was too sweet for our taste. I wish we had just gotten the strawberries with the dark chocolate and just enjoyed coz DiploBaby didn’t end up eating it anyway.
Next year we know what to get! Dark chocolate and strawberries if it’s just for adults. Milk chocolate with half strawberries and half waffles to share with DiploBaby.
As we were walking around we were attracted by these cream topped half chocolate domes and ordered one to taste.
It’s basically a hardened chocolate dome filled with chocolate mousse, chantilly cream & chocolate fondant.
It was really yummy. Look at the concentrated looks of my boys.
Going around is a feast for the senses. These chocolatiers are really chocolate artists.
The cutest bunny racer!
For some reason we ended up back in the Christian Boillat booth. The staff were warm and accommodating, answering our questions.
We ended up getting a box of the chocolate truffles which we were able to taste beforehand. I think that’s the beauty of this event – we can taste things before buying.
We also got to take home a chocolate muffin (which DiploBaby enjoyed) and a heart filled with cream and chocolate (which I enjoyed) from A. Pougnier. The lady was super nice & told us her recommendations.
Before leaving this tent, we went back to our favorite chocolatier Canonica to get our favorite award-winning Pavés de Geneve which we discovered when they had a booth in Manor Chavanne. We love Royce Nama and this is basically the same thing.
The award-winning Pavés de Geneve comes in 2 sizes.
They let us try the raspberry & dark chocolate langues de chat (cat’s tongue) & it was surprisingly good!
The guys manning the Canonica booth were so lovely. They even let me take a picture. =)
There were so many cute things. I wanted to take a photo of everything! And so many Easter-themed chocolate goodies. It’s really quite huge here.
This was was a word search game in chocolate.
Now we are on to the next tent!
Love that dogs are allowed. Here’s a little meet cute!
The first booth we saw when we entered the 2nd tent was Bretzel & Gretel & it was manned by the 2 nicest people.
Some kids doing activities in the back.
We love these packaging and the German connection so we finally found the gifts we wanted to get our friends who we met in Germany. They had so many interesting flavors but we went for the more classic ones.
They also had traditional chocolate bars but you can’t beat the salty pretzel + sweet chocolate combination!
Those chocolate loaves look delicious don’t they?
I was attracted to this booth because of the amazing chocolate structure with Madagascar’s Marty.
Those white gnomes on the left with their mushroom! So cute!
These are the chicest bunnies at the fair! So modern.
In terms of look, this was obviously my favorite stall. You guys know how much I love gold! But it was also the only stall that made me feel unwelcome. This is difficult to write, but I want to be honest about my experience in this stall. The person manning it was talking to 2 other clients – an individual & a family with young children. She was super nice to them, gave them samples & gave the kids chocolate bears. She laughed and smiled. I waited patiently for my turn. When they were done, she didn’t even look at me. So I approached her, smiled, said hello & asked if she spoke English. When she said yes I and ask what was in the chocolate samples. She told me & when she didn’t offer, I asked if I could try. I briefly got a look, but she let me. Where was that smiling, laughing person to the French-speaking people before me?
Then I asked what she gave the kids before and she said something like… Oh no, those are just gifts to the children. So I asked if I could ask for my son… I got that look again & was hesitantly offered the plastic bag to take one. But I saw with my own eyes how happily she gave it to the other kids. I felt embarassed but I reassured myself that it’s okay advocate for myself & my son to get a free taste.
This is weird, because isn’t this what this Chocolate Festival is about? So they can have people try their stuff to introduce their brand to the customer? I felt awful after this stall. I feel awful writing about it even now. I hate writing about negative experiences but I cannot pretend that my life is perfect. Could it be because I’m Asian? I don’t know.
Based on the brand’s look alone, I would have wanted to do a solo feature/blog post and buy some chocolates, but based on how the interaction made me feel, I left disappointed and feeling low.
So we moved on to more fun stalls & to hopefully erase the bitter taste that experience left in my mouth.
This stall is really interesting for kids. From Minions to other favorite characters!
These for me were the cutest bunnies in the fair!
The other chocolatiers
I took a lot of pics but there were still so many other booths. These are the rest of them:
- A. Pougnier , Carouge, Geneva
- Oberson Bakery , Vernier, Geneva
- Artisanal Chocolate Hochstrasse r , Meinier Village, Geneva
- Rohr Chocolates , Carouge, Geneva
- Bugnon chocolate factory , Lausanne, Vaud
- La Bonbonnière chocolate factory , Geneva
- Micheli Chocolate Factory , Geneva
- Confectionery Dominique Gremion , Geneva
- David Banchet , Versoix, Geneva
- Du Rhône Chocolatier , Geneva
- Favarger , Versoix, Geneva
- Guillaume Bichet , Versoix, Geneva
- Jorge Cardoso Chocolatier , Friborg
- Julia in the heart of chocolate , Monthey, Valais
- La Chocolatiere , Lausanne, Vaud
- La Loba Chocolatière , Pully, Vaud
- The Delights of the Hive , Charmoille, Jura
- L’Espace Chocolat , Lausanne, Vaud
- Miss Zizou , Saxon, Valais
- MR Chocolate , Moncherand, Vaud
- Mr & Mrs Renou , Carouge, Geneva
- Poncioni Chocolatiers , Meinier, Geneva
- Wolfisberg , Carouge, Geneva
- Zenhäusern , Sion, Valais
The festival isn’t large by Asian standards but I think it’s definitely enough. As it was, we already had more than our fill of chocolates. Overall it was a fun experience getting to know the chocolates and chocolatiers behind them. Most of them were so nice and we learned more about chocolate that day. But even more importantly we learned what chocolates & flavor combinations we liked so that we can make even better decisions in the future.
It’s definitely a must if you live in Geneva and the surrounding areas or if you are a tourist who has come at the right time. It’s a great way to get to know what chocolatiers we like. Being able to taste before buying is a huge plus for me.