Monday, 28 September 2015

A disappointing day out at the Cyprus Chocolate festival

In my ongoing quest to explore Cyprus and find new and interesting places to go I was excited to see that Platres Chocolate Workshop was holding a chocolate festival at the weekend.

The advert said...

The biggest chocolate festival anywhere around the Mediterranean. Two days of fun filled chocolate events and games. You can visit the Chocolate Experience Museum, take part in chocolate painting, have your portrait painted in chocolate, have your fortune told using hot chocolate, chocolate cake competition, watch chocolate being made by Master Chocolatiers, make chocolate soap, try limbo dancing with a chocolate pole, chocolate face painting and lots more games for both children and adults. Don't forget there will also be lots of lovely yummy chocolate things to eat.

Platres is a long way from us, about 1.5 hours drive, which is a very long way for our boys to drive and not something they are at all used to living on our very small island but I thought it would be a nice day out and about time we traveled further afield. 

We arranged to meet friends there and arrived at 1pm as the event was running from midday to 6pm. It was very busy with cars and people walking around the narrow roads approaching the hotel, possibly one of the busiest events I've seen here. 

Entry was 3 euros each,  for adults, children and even babies, we paid although it was a little chaotic and many people walked straight past the desk and entered without payment. 

The kids (and I) were very excited about the day, and anticipating lots of yummy treats to try and buy but we soon realised that was not the case. 

We started to explore after a drink and a 20 minute toilet queue (there was only one toilet)  and headed first to the Delikate stand (situated in an empty, quite dirty childrens swimming pool)  where children were decorating chocolate cakes only to find that they had run out and were packing up. 


Stalls all packed up by lunchtime

Trying to distract our disappointed children we headed to the other stalls, many had already closed and the others too crowded with people, one I think was about making chocolate soap but the boys by this point had no desire to go and see.  They were tired and at this point were not going to be impressed by anything other than having chocolate to eat!

We found a stall that seemed to be giving away samples,  there was a lovely display of chocolate gifts,  including beautiful chocolate jigsaw puzzles, and various shaped and coloured statues.  Behind the table was a few trays with broken bits on which people were fighting for, pushing and shoving each other to get to. 
Handmade Cyprus Chocolate before it all got eaten
We managed to get a small piece each, and a handful for the three boys to share, but sadly that was our entire chocolate consumption for the day. 

Leo holding the chocolate for the 7 of us!
I steered the boys away from the display, assuming it wasn't for eating but as we left someone picked up one of the pieces of puzzle and popped it in their mouth,  this immediately caused a free for all and within minutes the entire display had been eaten.   There was no one manning the tent, so no-one to stop it or any information about buying it or ordering the products. 


Eating the scraps of chocolate
You could have your portrait painted in chocolate for €10, or queue for the chocolate face painting (which I didn't get to see the price of)  but everything had an additional charge and was almost packed up anyway.  I didn't see the promised fortune telling, or the chocolate making demonstration, although there was a marquee with a display and someone giving a talk every hour, we didn't get in due to volume of people inside and on talking to those exiting were told not to bother tying to. 

Pictures of the Chocolate Experience 'Museum' 


We stayed for a couple of hours as the boys cheered up a little when playing on a slide in the hotels small playground but apart from that there was really nothing else to do.  


Looking over the festival.
I am quite used to disappointing events but even I was surprised at this, and embarrassed to have promoted it on the Famagusta Parents Network website as well as attending with my friends.  There have been many posts on the facebook page for the event from disappointed and even angry visitors most of whom traveled a long distance to attended due to the remote location of it. 

I do feel for the organiser in some way as its not an easy undertaking to arrange a large event and I really don't want to knock those who try to do something for tourism, and businesses,but if they are planning on holding a second festival next year they will have to go a very long way to make it a success.   



The workshop offers chocolate making workshops all year round and I would be very interested in attending one as I'm sure the festival bears no relation to what looks like a enjoyable experience.  I'll let you know if I get to visit one day!

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