A two-metre-high chocolate sculpture, is one of many things you can feast your eyes on at the New Zealand chocolate festival this weekend.

Held at te Papa, festival event manager Frank Stoltenberg said the aim was to showcase chocolate's origins and the nutritional values of cacao beans as a superfood.

"It's learning about it as a food and not seeing it in such a bad light," he said.

By having chocolatiers who use single source and family owned plantations participate, people could see the importance of fair-trade, Stoltenberg said.

The look of the sculpture would remain a surprise, but it would focus on the cacao bean-to-bar theme which had enveloped the festival, he said.

Among the chocolate madness there would also be a replica of the iconic Cuba Street bucket fountain, made by Wellington Chocolate Factory's (WFC) event manager Geoseph Domenichiello.

Domenichiello worked through the night to create the fountain, which was tricky to work with as the chocolate was thicker than what he was used.

"I wanted it to represent the fountain but not be an exact replica," he said.

The WFC planned to make the real bucket fountain on Cuba Street flow with chocolate for the Cuba Dupa festival next year.

To curb the sweet tooth of chocolate festival goers there would also be sampling from various chocolatiers including WFC's Bougainville bar which used cacao beans that took three months to bring back to New Zealand by boat.

WFC owners Rochelle Harrison and Gabe Davidson made the voyage from Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, to New Zealand in a traditional Fijian sail boat in order to get the beans, which they sourced from a local farmer, to New Zealand by using fewer emissions.

The voyage which was meant to take six weeks, ended up taking them three months due to bad winds, but it was worth it to bring customers a fair-trade product, Harrison said.

"People care about where the beans come from," Harrison said.

As well as focussing on fair trade, chocolate should also be seen as a wholefood source, not just a confectionary, she said.


With no additives and a high count of cocoa beans in their chocolate, most of the bars are dairy-free and vegan and have nutritional values such as magnesium.

"We've had quite an overwhelming response to our chocolate," she said.

Other bean-to-bar chocolate makers who would be at the festival included Nelson's Hogarth Craft Chocolate and Dunedin's Ocho, otherwise known as Otago Chocolate.

Visitors would have the chance to sample chocolate from 24 exhibitors, dip their spoons into the melted chocolate fountainand watch culinary demonstrations from Le Cordon Bleuhead patisserie chef lecturer Sébastien Lambert.

Four thousand visitors attended the last festival three years ago, and 5000 visitors were expected at this year's festival held at Te Papa over the weekend.