(Left to right) Follies as interpreted by Steve Evetts (NY Marriott Marquis) with Tony Award winning designer Gregg Barnes. Can-Can as interpreted by Sofitel Luxury Hotels and Vincent Bitauld (Sofitel) with Drama Desk Award winning costume designer David Woolard. Photos provided.

By Curtis Vreeland
Vreeland & Associates

New York Chocolate Week provides East Coast chocophiles with a snapshot of current trends in the premium chocolate category.

Held the second week of November, Chocolate Week features a chocolate-themed fashion show, the only U.S. touchdown of the global trotting Salon du Chocolat and the Food Fête media event.

The week started with a chocolaty cat walk Nov. 9, with the Chocolate Fashion Show. Sponsored by Lincoln, the show paired Tony Award-winning designers with pastry chefs to create Broadway-themed haut couture.

The 14th annual New York Chocolate Show, which featured 65 exhibitors and attracted about 15,000 attendees - almost the same number as last year and an indication that the demand for premium chocolate is holding its own during the recession - was held the next day.

Lyon-based chocolatier Bernachon exhibited for the first time. Regarded by chocolate cognoscenti to be among the best chocolate makers in the world, its presence was a real surprise.

"Considering that it's virtually impossible to buy their product outside of Lyon, this is a rare and very real treat,” says author and TheChocolateLife.com founder Clay Gordon.

However, the New York Chocolate Show still has a way to go if it is to approach the popularity of the marquee event in the circuit, the Paris Salon du Chocolat.

"The U.S. chocolate market is the largest in the world and yet brand names that you think would love to tap into this market are nowhere to be found [at the Show],” says Gordon.

Nevertheless, the event still had plenty to offer.