Shrewsbury Chocolate Festival draws big crowds - with pictures

A celebration of all things chocolate drew thousands of people to Shropshire this weekend.

The fourth annual Shrewsbury Chocolate Festival took place in the Quarry on Saturday and Sunday, featuring 35 exhibitors from all over the country.

The event moved to the park for 2017 to accommodate more visitors after outgrowing St Mary's Church.

Organiser and award-winning chocolatier, Julia Viani of Toot Sweets, said she thinks the festival beat last year's record crowd of about 6,000.

"It went really well and the move proved a good decision," she said.

"There's definitely things we can improve on again for next year but all of the traders are saying that have had a really fantastic time.

"The festival is relatively small but this year we have 35 really good quality chocolatiers who have travelled from all over the country to sell their really wonderful products.

"I'd say the event has been better than last year. Making the move was quite a big jump and it could have gone either way but it's been brilliant."

Thousands of chocolate lovers packed out a marquee in the Quarry to enjoy everything from chocolate bars and truffles to fudge, nougat, churros, brownies, carob, chocolate beer, mulled wine and more.

There was something for everyone at the festival, including products from Plant, an Ellesmere-based chocolate company selling raw, healthy, dairy-free and vegan-friendly products.

David Scott, from Plant, said: "We have been surprised how popular the dairy-free chocolate has been. It's great getting a good response from people who are not vegans and people who would not usually try this kind of thing. It really shows people what's possible."

It was also an important day for Oxfam who work in partnership with Devine - the only chocolate company in the world which is 100% Fairtrade and owned by cocoa farmers.

Carla Siswick from Oxfam said: "This is our fourth year at the festival so we've been coming here from the year dot. It's nice to take the shop out on the road and raise money at the same time by selling books too.

"All of the proceeds from Devine products, which is sold in 400 Oxfam shops, goes to cocoa farmers."

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