A chocolate lover's dream at the New York Chocolate Show

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Published November 13, 2012

| FoxNews.com

I ate truffles, fudge, gelato, and just when I thought I couldn't take any more, they rolled out the life-size chocolate woman.

Have I died and gone to chocolate heaven? No, this is business as usual for the New York Chocolate show, which celebrated its 15th anniversary this year.

Did I mention a life-size chocolate sculpture? This year’s design was an ode to the chocolate fashion show, held every year, but with a “Norman Rockwell” twist – it features a “chocolate fashion model” holding a glass of champagne, as her younger counterpart sits beside her with a handful of truffles.

“It’s movement, it’s chocolate, it’s cake … and it’s life-size,” said Paul Joachim, who created the sculpture with Lauri Ditunno.

The sculpture is entirely edible and made from more than 100 pounds of chocolate cake, dark chocolate, modeling chocolate and ganache. The chocolate fashion model was one of three chocolate sculptures at the Chocolate Show. Joachim and Ditunno also created an “I Love Lucy” bust inspired by the redhead’s stint working at a chocolate factory. Chef Vanessa Greeley created a more delicate chocolate sculpture entitled “Lady Chocolat,” inspired by Marie Antoinette.

This year’s chocolate fashion show was canceled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, but one dress managed to weather the storm. The dress, titled “Autumn Fairy,” features realistic-looking leaves and vines made completely from chocolate.

The storm had a clear effect on the show – several exhibitors were unable to attend due to gas shortages and flight cancellations. Still, a portion of the show’s ticket sales will be donated to Sandy’s victims, and attendees were encouraged to bring winter coats to donate to New York Cares.

For the exhibitors who could make it, the Chocolate Show was a success. Smaller businesses, like Philadelphia-based John and Kira’s, were featured side-by-side next to chocolate giants like Valrhona. A total of 45 exhibitors participated in the three-day chocolate celebration.

Oliver Kita looked to stand out from the crowd with his vegan organic chocolate bars. Known for his “chocolate Buddha,” the Hudson Valley chocolatier says his chocolate is reflective of how people want to live – respectful and aware. Kita stays very involved in the production process, only shipping small batches to ensure the chocolate stays fresh.

“If I wouldn’t eat it, I won’t sell it,” Kita told FoxNews.com.

John and Kira’s also is looking to make a social change through chocolate. The mail-order company uses locally-sourced ingredients and high-quality chocolate to create innovative confections, like chocolate figs and “Magic Chocolate Apples,” made with chocolate, cream, cinnamon, cardamom and apple brandy.

Besides socially-conscious chocolate, the newest trend in the chocolate world appears to be chocolate wine. The wine can come in several varieties: a red wine infused with chocolate, a richer version made with cream or a fruitier flavor pairing.

The Chocolate Shop offers five flavors and is working with candy companies to develop even more. The company goes straight for the “chocolate taste,” rather than wine with a hint of chocolate. ChocolatRouge takes the opposite approach, focusing on blending chocolate with premium wines.

The New York Chocolate Show drew thousands of attendees who feasted on truffles, fudge, chocolate bars and chocolate wine. Between the chocolate sculptures, live cooking demos and slew of samples, the chocolate show was anything but vanilla.

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