Fast Ed Hunter Valley Garden's Chocolate Festival Interview

Fast Ed Hunter Valley Garden's Chocolate Festival Interview

Fast Ed Hunter Valley Garden's Chocolate Festival Interview

The Hunter Valley Gardens will transform into a chocolate lovers paradise from 7th - 8th July with the annual Chocolate Festival taking place. Lap up the luxurious selection of 'all things sweet' and watch world class chocolatiers dazzle you with their decadent chocolate creations. All who attend will pick up some tricks of the trade to make their own chocolate magic at home.

Ed Halmagyi (Better homes and Gardens) Daily (10.30am - 11.15am) (1.30pm - 2.15pm)
Regular resident chef extraordinaire Fast Ed is a fountain of chocolate trivia. Head to the main stage located in the lakeside amphitheatre where Ed will host a fantastic, entertaining show with inspiring demonstrations from top talented chef's all weekend. Visitors will also be treated to incredible demonstrations from Fast Ed too.

Chocolate Show Piece Competition (Saturday 7th 9.00am - 1.00pm)
The way Australia's finest chocolatiers sculpt chocolate will astound you as they create their own chocolate show pieces! The judges will comprise of renowned celebs of the chocolate world including, Adriano Zumbo and Dean Gibson.

Chocolate Gateaux Competition (Sunday 8th July 9.30 - 11.30, Heat 1) (12.30 - 2.30, Heat 2)
Chefs from all over Australia will gather to compete in this prestigious dessert competition for a trip to Belgium to train in the Callebaut Chocolate Academy. It's a tantalising contest to watch.

The Chocolate Pavilion
This truly is a blissful hang out for any chocolate enthusiast. Stalls of boutique chocolate providers will be displaying a divine range of patisseries, desserts, breads and truffles.

Live Patisserie Kitchen
Get up close and interact with skilled chefs and learn how to make pastries and bread fit for sale in the local bakery. They make it look easy but with a few lessons you'll be as good as the experts!

Wine and Beer Hub
For a bit of relaxation, head over to the wine and beer hub where you can sample some of the countries best wine, all the while tasting scrumptious desserts till your heart's content.

A range of fun activities for kids to play with our Snow Time in the Garden event which is also taking place at Hunter Valley Gardens this weekend. There will be a real ice skating rink, snow ball games, and kids will have the chance to make their own snowman or snow angel.

Entry to the Gardens is $25.00 per adult; $20 for seniors, Children ages 4-15 pay $13 with children 3 years and under admitted free. For a family of 2 adults and 2 children pay $65 Hunter Valley Gardens open daily from 9am to 5pm. For further information please call 02 4998 4000 or visit

Interview with Ed Halmagyi

Question: Why have you decided to return to the Hunter Valley Garden's Chocolate Festival?

Ed Halmagyi: This is my fifth year at the Hunter Valley Garden's Chocolate Festival and my kids look forward to the festival as it's an event that I take the whole family to. It's awesome to have everyone hanging out and having a good time with chocolate everywhere!

The only downside this year is I am participating as an ambassador for Dry July and as the festival is in July I will be in the Hunter Valley and I can't drink - which does means more chocolate!

Question: What will your daily shows, consist of?

Ed Halmagyi: The shows will consist of a range of things including desserts although I try and have my shows tie around the savoury side of chocolate use. There are so many great chefs, bakers and pastry chefs at the Hunter Valley Garden's Chocolate Festival and I don't want to double up which is why I have chosen to workshop savoury recipes.

Question: What chocolate demonstrations will you be showcasing on the main stage?

Ed Halmagyi: I will be cooking recipes such as Chicken with a Cocoa Nib Sauce and a Spicy Beef with a Chocolate Mole. The recipes I will be making will be simple meals that people can make at home and I will show audiences how to make a proper Chocolate Éclair as well because I think everybody should be able to do an éclair at home and most people have never tried!

Question: Can you share with us any of the chocolate trivia you'll share with the crowd, on the day?

Ed Halmagyi: Everything I make will go into someone's mouth and all my ideas about chocolate go into their brains which is a nice little balancing act! I'm a self-obsessed food nerd and I love the fact that I am able to talk to people about the culture of chocolate, food science and food generally. I find chocolate fascinating and if you like chocolate Hunter Valley Garden's Chocolate Festival is the place to be!

Question: What are your top three tips for cooking with chocolate?

Ed Halmagyi: The first thing is: never overheat chocolate, at 50 degrees the chocolate will start to become a little bit granular so always melt your chocolate gently.
Secondly never store chocolate in a humid or warm place because it will start to break down, a little bit. Chocolate is best stored in a cool, dry place.
Thirdly remember that chocolate is not interchangeable; if you have a recipe that says dark chocolate as an ingredient you cannot necessarily replace the dark chocolate with milk or white chocolate. The formulation of chocolate is different and the outcome of your recipe if you replace the type of chocolate will be completely different.

Question: What is your overall favourite chocolate dish?

Ed Halmagyi: There is a chef from the UK called Nico Lavenus who in the 1980's invented a Baked Chocolate Tart which I still think hasn't been bettered and it's still the best Chocolate Tart I've ever tried. The tart is incredibly simple; once you've got a perfect pastry it's just a matter of taking four ingredients: chocolate, egg, butter and sugar - it is so light and extraordinary.
I like recipes that celebrate ingredients over technique!

Question: What is the best way to impress with chocolate?

Ed Halmagyi: Serve it generously and buy the very best quality you can as there is a very big difference between a good quality chocolate and a cheap cooking chocolate - don't substitute one for the other as quality matters!

Interview by Brooke Hunter