Something that has stayed true to us through the 2+ years of running this blog has been to be honest when sharing our experiences with you… even when things don’t quite turn out the way we hope.
So in aid of showcasing our honesty value once again, we wanted to write a few words about The Fantastical Chocolate Festival that we attended in Bristol earlier this month…
Our Experience of The Fantastical Chocolate Festival 2018
Following our recent booking of our upcoming trip to the land of fantastical chocolate (i.e. Belgium), it seemed only too fitting that we attend The Fantastical Chocolate Festival that had a one-day event happening at the Passenger Shed in Bristol earlier this month.
We first heard about this ‘festival’ on Facebook as a public event, which you could buy tickets for at £9 per adult (£6 for kids) and the option to get a ‘goody bag’ for an additional £6.
The event page or website didn’t really give much away but implied that it would be a place to indulge in chocolate, try free samples and buy various chocolate-related goods.
But what we expected it be and what it turned out to be were two very different things…
After having our tickets checked, we were greeted by a woman dressed like a winter witch who was carrying a HUGE basket of sweets that we could sample from. We thought: “Amazing! This is clearly a sign of things to come… free sweets galore!”
However, after we’d finished speaking with her, we saw a fairly decent sized room but which (unfortunately) had only a small number of stalls down one side, none of which can you believe were selling chocolate!
What they were actually selling were cheese, cookies, truffles, brownies and cake. Admittedly, delicious cheese, cookies, truffles, brownies and cake, (I’m still raving on about the amazing – and very well priced – Gluten Free Orange Almond Truffle I tried!) but, come on, we were expecting chocolate!
Thankfully, we made our way to the other side of the room where there were some stalls that WERE selling chocolate. They were also offering some free dark chocolate samples. Scott’s not a fan of dark chocolate, but I was very pleased with the 75% Peruvian dark chocolate I tried while there.
Aside from the stalls, we thought the event itself looked to be perfect for children. There were plenty of children’s activities including bouncy castles, an inflatable tunnel, a soft play area, face painting and a stage show that centred around the main theme of Willy Wonka.
The actors playing various Willy Wonka-inspired characters were very engaging with the children and entertaining to watch. We personally thought it was so child friendly that it probably should have been advertised as a children’s event. Either way, if you have young kids, this event would be (almost) worth the money.
As massive chocolate lovers, we decided to treat ourselves when booking our tickets for the event, by choosing the ‘goody bag’ option. Inside the reusable tote bag, we found a mug with the Fantastical Chocolate logo on it, a couple of chocolate coins, some penny sweets, a children’s colouring sheet and a voucher for a free chocolate fountain stick.
There were four delicious looking chocolate fountains at the rear of the room; 2 on each side with the choice of milk, dark, white or strawberry flavoured chocolate. The chocolate used in them seemed of a good quality — the chocolate looked silky smooth and was so delicious! We tried the strawberry and milk chocolate versions. If you like your chocolate fountain to be super creamy and silky, (and who wouldn’t?!) then you would have loved this. Although, we must admit, that a strawberry on the stick alongside the marshmallows wouldn’t have gone amiss!
After this, we took one last look at the stalls, where we decided to buy some fresh chunky chocolate cookies and taste some chocolate cheese, before making our way home… but not before grabbing a photo in front of the giant inflatable lollipop (oh but of course!)
The Fantastical Chocolate Festival 2018 Pros & Cons
To sum up, here’s what we thought…
- Great entertainment and activities for kids
- Delicious chocolate (even if there was only a small amount there!)
- The ‘goody bag’ option was a nice idea
- The silky, creamy, delicious chocolate fountains… enough said!
- The ticket prices were quite expensive for what we found inside
- There should have been a lot more chocolate there (and more free samples!)
- Although the ‘goody bag’ was a nice idea, we would have liked to have found more chocolate in it… even something as simple as a small chocolate bar would have been 10x better than what we did get!
All in all, sadly, this event wasn’t the chocolate festival we had hoped for in the run-up to our Belgium trip, which will inevitably be full of the stuff, but it will make the wait all the more worthwhile for us. Silver linings and all that, right?!
We’ve since heard that the company behind this event have decided to rework their idea following feedback they’ve received. We like to think social posts and blogs (like this one) not only help event-goers to get more information about what they might be signing up for, but also help the event organisers to truly understand what we would have liked to have seen in order to make the event a complete success going forwards.
Have you been to this chocolate festival before or any other event that was below your expectations? Share your thoughts and experiences with us – we’d love to hear them!