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food / travel

Haut Chocolate: Feast Of Cocoa-Clad Models Delight Zurich's Salon Du Chocolat

Did you say Cocoa Chanel? Daring designs, fancy hairdressers, lickable tattoos, edible clothes. Switzerland, which is chocolate heaven even on a bad day, is wearing its sweetest delicacies on its sleeve as the Salon du Chocolat comes to Zurich for the fir

Chocolate fashion on the catwalk (Salon du Chocolat)
Chocolate fashion on the catwalk (Salon du Chocolat)
Esther Kern

ZURICH - Visiting the Sprüngli shop and tea room on Paradeplatz, in the heart of Zurich's shopping and banking center, is a must for all those who visit the city. Sprüngli's famous macaroons, known as Luxemburgerli, and its Truffes du Jour are prepared in its chocolate factory outside the city, in Dietikon -- where a trial run recently took place for an entirely different kind of manifestation of the chocolatier's art: body painting.

In the run-up to the opening of the first Salon du Chocolat in Switzerland, taking place in Zurich from March 30 through April 1, the sight of two specialists squeezing white chocolate out of a pastry tube onto a model�s body cast the very traditional Confiserie Sprüngli in quite another light. Sprüngli teamed up with Coiffure Valentino, part of the local Mondo Valentino beauty group (no relation to Italian designer Valentino), for the project.

The Salon du Chocolat took place in Paris for the first time in 1994, and has since branched out to 20 cities around the world. The Salon offers chocolate tastings and the possibility to watch chocolatiers at work: a whole education in chocolate. But there's an extra treat: a fashion show with clothes made from -- you guessed it. "We want to show that chocolatiers are just as worthy of the stage as fashion designers," says Sylvie Douce, the Salon's founder.

There is no fabric whatsoever between the chocolate and model Magdalena's skin. In the way henna is applied in ornamental motifs to skin in some cultures, Sprüngli staffers Angela Jordi and Philipp-Marius Renggli are applying the chocolate swirls to the model's legs, arms, shoulders and neck (she is otherwise clad in a clingy tank top). The human body temperature being 37 °Celsius, this represents quite a challenge since the melting point for chocolate is 33 °Celsius, and white chocolate melts even faster than brown chocolate. "We had to figure out a way to raise the melting temperature," Renggli says. They managed by adding pectin, a binder, among other things. "You have to make the patterns on a body much bigger than you would on a cake," stresses Jordi.

The dress rehearsal was the perfect test of just how long the chocolate would hold before it started to melt. It began with the model being styled as she would have been before any catwalk show. Local Italian beauty entrepreneur Valentino was present personally, talking details over with some of his staffers. The creative process for the performance that takes place on March 29 live at the Salon's pre-opening, and will later be shown on film, "was a step for both sides," Valentino explained. A step away from the eccentricity for which he is known and, for the venerable 175-year-old firm of Sprüngli, a step towards something somewhat more daring.

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Photo: Salon du Chocolat

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Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

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