Norwich Chocolate Festival 2016: Chocolate Fiesta aims to raise awareness and spread happiness

Madame Deroubaix. Norwich Chocolate Festival organiser.

Madame Deroubaix. Norwich Chocolate Festival organiser. - Credit: Archant

The popular event is back, bringing fine chocolate to our fine city and helping to support the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.

Chocolate lovers across the county will be coming together this month to celebrate all things cocoa at the Norwich Chocolate Fiesta, the prelude to Norwich's Chocolate Festival which kicks off in March 2017.

Taking place at The Mash Tun on Charing Cross, the fiesta will take place on November 19 and 20 and will host a number of chocolate connoisseurs, including Fifth Dimension Chocolates, who recently won big at the 2016 International Chocolate Awards.

Other attractions at the free two-day event will include a chocolate fountain, a hot chocolate bar, an art auction and a workshop where guests will have the chance to make their own chocolate bars.

The festival is the creation of Lynn Lockwood, or Madame Deroubaix as she is known in the industry, an Earsham resident who has struggled to find employment due to long-term health conditions in the past.

'I'm so grateful to have discovered the chocolate industry, it allows me to work, has improved my confidence and makes life a little more worthwhile,' the 46 year old said.

'Eight years ago I knew absolutely nothing about chocolate but now I'm able to not only raise awareness of the ethical and environmental issues the industry faces, but also spread happiness.'

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Half of the funds raised by the Chocolate Fiesta will go towards supporting the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Dame Marie, Haiti.

The village, once an important site for cacao farming, has been completely devastated by the hurricane, with miles of beachfront homes washed away and little medical and food supplies left for its 40,000 occupants.

The rest of the proceeds will go towards facilitating the educational activities and partnerships for the main chocolate festival, which will be taking place over the 10, 11 and 12 March and promises to be bigger and better than last year.

'These events aren't just about selling products, we want to educate the public about where chocolate comes from and what the issues are with making it,' said Tasha Higgins, a recent University of East Anglia graduate and one of the festival's organisers.

She added: 'Cacao farmers are some of the poorest people in the world, we want to show people that the type of chocolate they buy can make a real difference to the lives of others. The more we teach people, the more they will demand better quality chocolate and in turn the more the farmers will be paid.'

• If you'd like to get involved with the festival email to find out more. Organisers are currently seeking a live music act to perform in the evening at the event and donations for the art auction.