In February Peru participated as a special guest in the 6th edition of the Salon du Chocolat in Brussels, Belgium, where it made a great impression when it presented the 'Chuncho Imperial' outfit at the Chocolate Fashion Show. The outfit was created by the Peruvian designer Ricardo Dávila and the master chocolatier of Belgium Frederic Blondeel.
The dress was inspired by the Sun Virgins of the Inca Empire and the variety of aromatic cocoa from Cusco, 'Chuncho'. The outfit was covered with bars of chocolate bathed in gold, made in Blondeel’s workshops, who the Gault et Millau guide has named chocolatier of the year in Belgium.
The Peruvian participation in the Salon du Chocolat was organized by Peru’s Foreign Trade Office in Brussels (OCEX Brussels), and was attended by 25 producers and exporters of cocoa, cocoa derivatives (paste and nibs), and 'bean to bar’ chocolate bars.
The event was also attended by an important delegation of the regional government of Cusco with the aim of presenting the 'Chuncho’ variety of aromatic cocoa, which is internationally recognized for its intense aroma, texture and extraordinary flavors.
The director of Peru’s Foreign Trade Office in Brussels, Rosario Pajuelo, explained that the pageant of chocolate-based dresses attracts thousands of visitors to the show from Belgium and neighboring countries.
Buyers from Belgium and other European countries visited the fair and Peru's stand, which stood out for its extensive infographic on the transformation process of cocoa, which was framed by the image of Superfoods Peru.
Some of the Belgian officials who visited the Peruvian stand included: the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation of Brussels, Guy Van Hengel; the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo; and the Mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close. Belgian media also attended, such as Kanaal Z and La Capitale, among others.
It should be noted that the Peruvian stand was made possible by the support of the Lima Chamber of Commerce and the European program AL INVEST 5.0.
Commercial Intelligence Mission
Belgium is an important market for Peruvian cocoa: Peru is the European country's fourth largest supplier of cocoa beans. For this reason, OCEX Brussels organized a Commercial Intelligence Mission to visit the key players in the Belgian chocolate industry before the start of the Salon du Chocolat.
The mission included a visit to Jean-Philippe Darcis, one of Belgium's most famous chocolate makers, and a visit to Millésime, a chocolate manufacturer from Liège who has launched
a new chocolate concept which resembles wine. The Belgian Chocolate Group's facilities in Herentals were also visited, among other places of interest for the sector, such as the factory of the famous chocolate brand Godiva, located in the heart of Brussels.
The Belgian consumer eats an average of 13 pounds of chocolate a year and the Belgian chocolate industry exports almost 3.4 billion euros in chocolate and cocoa products.