Magazine article Newsweek International

Haute for Chocolate

Magazine article Newsweek International

Haute for Chocolate

Article excerpt

Byline: Elisa Mala

It's a bird! It's a plane! At the New York Chocolate Show, it's a sweet superhero showdown.

Iron Man has been kidnapped and had shrapnel lodged in his heart, but he never had to worry about his power suit melting off. That fear plagued chef James Briscione as he stepped into the superhero's uniform. His concern was understandable: the suit was made almost entirely of chocolate. "Chocolate melts at body temperature," Briscione noted, as two colleagues from the Institute of Culinary Education enveloped him in sheets of the stuff. But at least this suit wouldn't attack its wearer, like the one in the Iron Man comic book once did.

Cartoon heroes and chocolate capes were hardly the oddest pairing earlier this month at the 11th Annual New York Chocolate Show, an offshoot of a showcase first unveiled in Paris 1994. Guava paste formed realistic-looking salmon atop Romanicos Chocolate's sashimi-shaped candies. Chuao Chocolatier's Firecracker Bar exploded with salt, chipotle and fizzy rock candy. Roni-Sue tantalized daring taste buds with "pig candy"--deep-fried bacon enrobed in chocolate. But the most exotic item on the menu was haute cocoa.

The market travels to Shanghai, Tokyo, Moscow and nine other cities annually, and in New York, fashion designers collaborate with chefs to craft chocolate clothes. "Superheroes" was the theme of this year's runway show, which seemed apropos for a confection with powers of its own: like Mister Fantastic, the shape-shifting leader of the Fantastic Four, chocolate can contort itself in ways that even Willy Wonka would consider whimsical. "It makes the clothes even sweeter," quipped designer Laurance Rassin, who partnered with Jansen Chan, pastry chef at Manhattan's Oceana restaurant, to concoct a temptress of their own imagination, the Bittersweet Black Widow. …

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