Excitement… that is what I had felt during my quite long trip toward Buda castle in order to visit and enjoy the Sweet Days 2014 festival for the third time. However, let us face it: who would not be excited to go to a chocolate festival? Sweet Days was held for the fourth time from the 19th to the 21st of September (open from 10:00 am to 22:00 pm) in Budapest at Buda castle. It is a part of the “gastronomy festival period” of the city, which is usually organized during the autumn with festival themes such as wine, brandy or sausages.
As I got closer to the festival with my friends, I started to come across people who were all carrying bags full of chocolate, sweets, and cakes. Still, every fibre in my body was ready for this festival because it promised us a very good time. Although, as we proceeded to buy our tickets, I had to realize that it is not an easy “getaway” for the families with one or two children because it is quite expensive. The prices were the following: children under the age of six had not had to pay for the entrance; children between the age of 6 and 12 had to pay for a day ticket 1.000 HUF; the senior citizens had to pay for a day ticket 1.500 HUF and everyone else had to buy the adult day ticket that cost 2.200 HUF. I believe that it is a very expensive ticket and my only “reward” for paying that much money was a bar of dark chocolate with the name of the festival and the main sponsor, which this year was Interspar – so, after all, it was beneficial to the sponsor.
On the other hand, I did not let my mood drop because of the prices. After waiting a long time in the line at the entrance – that just showed how many people were interested in Sweet Days – we finally had been able to enter. At first, I came across with a child and his mother who were leaving but I heard how the child pleaded his mother to visit again next day. It seemed as everyone was having a terrific time going from stand to stand, trying to get a piece of chocolate and after tasting it, they bought tons of them.
The weather was sunny and bright, so it was a hard task to go through everything because there were so many visitors. There were chocolate mountains, muffins, cupcakes, bonbons, hot chocolate and even some specialities, such as chocolate flavoured beer, coke flavoured with stevia, award-winning wines and cheese specialities that go very well with the wines and the chocolate. Our hardest task was to choose from the offers, which was not a surprise at all because there were 103 stands. One of our favourites was ChocoMe, which is an artificer Hungarian chocolate factory. It is important to know that ChocoMe represented our country in London at the Salon du Chocolat too, which is the first chocolate festival in London – between 18th and 20th of October and had a huge success among the English people.
However, being there did not necessary had to resolve around eating chocolate or sweets. After we had enough of tasting, we decided to watch the show that was provided for the visitors by one of the sponsors of the festival, Tv2. The reporters and main faces of Tv2 were baking brownies and cupcakes in live and after they were finished with them, the visitors could eat the finished cakes that were just as delicious as the fondant covered cake of the cake designer, Ráhel Raj. Furthermore, those people who visited Sweet Days 2014 on the first evening could also watch the “So delicious fashion show” that was organised together with Hotel Sofitel Budapest. This show represented designer cakes with their matching clothes that were all beautiful. Moreover, Bonbonetti chocolate factory celebrated their 50th anniversary, so they offered all of their products with a 50% discount. What is more, they offered birthday cake slices to the visitors every evening.
After we finished our “tour”, we decided that it was time to leave. It was a sad moment because we had a great time; although, it must be said that – in my opinion – this festival is getting smaller and smaller from year to year. For example, there were not any kinds of figures (2 years ago we had a “living” Gombóc Artúr there and a cacao bean that both were very entertaining). Yet, as we were walking, we heard on the radio that Sweet Days 2014 is now amongst the five best and biggest chocolate festivals in Europe. So, I am absolutely positive that I will visit Sweet Days festival next year too because it is a great program for a weekend with your friends, your family or even alone.
All in all, I definitely suggest visiting Sweet Days the next year (for those of you too who did not go in this year); after all, Sweet Days is a great event, a delicious international meeting place for chocolatiers, bakers and confectioners, and Buda Castle is a terrific venue.
For further information about the festival, you can also visit its webpage: www.edesnapok.hu.
Written by Fanni Tóth