ATHENS, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- A galaxy of pastry chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners have came together at the Technopolis cultural complex in Athens to show chocolate making techniques during a four-day Chocolate Festival.
The festival, which runs from Feb. 14 to 17, involved tasting sessions, workshops and children activities led by experts dedicated to the art of chocolate.
"We want people to see what chocolate is. It is an industry that develops rapidly in the last years abroad and Greece as well. So, people can taste new flavors, to learn the history of cocoa, where it comes from, to watch live how it is produced from the bean until the final stage of the process," Fotis Liapis from the festival told Xinhua.
Visitors had the opportunity to discover new flavors of chocolates, sweet and savory delights featuring a chocolate fountain and fondue, a chocolate bar to enjoy drinking chocolate.
Chocolatier Stefanos Asimakopoulos, who continues his family pastry business which opened in 1962, was one of the participants of the festival. He decided to import cocoa and produce his chocolate in 2003 after studying the art of chocolate in Paris.
"We import the seed from Ghana, and we make our chocolate. We use local products from all around Greece, like wine, honey, oil and other spirits. During the festival, we will demonstrate chocolates with fish and meat, "singlino" (salted pork) from Mani in southern Peloponnese, "apaki" (smoked pork) from Crete island and graviera cheese from Naxos," Asimakopoulos told Xinhua.
During the festival, visitors could also learn about the nutritional value of chocolate. Though milk and filled chocolate leads the sales in Greece, people are open to try dark chocolate in the context of health and wellness.
It contains amounts of essential nutrients such as protein, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, while the raw cacao bean has antioxidant effects.
For Tasos Theodosiadis, 29, cofounder of chocolate brand Kakau Warship, the festival gives a chance to bring people closer to cocoa and dark chocolate.
With his friend Aris Flokas, they started their small business this year in Athens. Despite the financial recession that hit the country, they decided to stay in Greece and invest in what they love.
They have studied chocolate culture after living in Latin America and practicing on homemade chocolate. They make chocolate from organic certified products and already export their chocolate bars.
"Chocolate is a form of expression, you can give it as a gift, express your love...It's a way of communication," Theodosiadis said.