ChocolART held in Tübinghen every December is Germany’s biggest Chocolate Fair. The eleventh edition of ChocolART saw over 250,000 people flood into the medieval university town for the four day festival to admire the handiwork of chocolate makers from around Europe as well as Africa and Latin America.
“The waiting list for those who want to take part grows longer every year,” said the Fair’s manager, Hans-Peter Schwarz. Twelve countries are represented with over 100 stands.
The theme at this year’s ChocolART was Fair Trade. “We don’t want our pleasure to cost the people in the producing countries,” the Green Party Mayor, Boris Palmer, said when he opened the Festival on December 2. This university town is taking part in a Europe wide campaign called “Make Chocolate Fair” which has taken aim at multinationals such as the Swiss giant Nestlé.
According to one recent US study, two million children work the cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast and Ghana alone.
“Many people who buy their chocolate at the supermarket don’t know what bad conditions cocoa is grown in some countries,” Schwarz said. The Fair’s manager says Tübingen is out to set the right example. He says more than a third of the vendors at the Fair have direct contracts with producers in Latin America and Africa.
The Tübingen ‘Poor World Action Center’ organized an exhibit on the ground floor of the Town Hall called “Sweet and Bitter” to accompany the fair.
A novelty at this year’s fair is a chocolate 3D printer developed by mechatronics students at the Reutlingen University of Applied Sciences and which prints edible chocolate figurines. You can taste roast wild boar with a chocolate sauce at the town museum. And new this year is the Italian Lane where you can sample the produce of five Italian regions.
To accompany your chocolate overdose are stands serving hot mulled wine.