RIYADH: Renowned Dutch artist Anat Ratzabi says her compelling chocolate sculpture on display at the 10th Foodex Saudi Expo in Riyadh celebrates the renowned hospitality of the Kingdom’s people.
Ratzabi incorporated elements in the bronzed creation including dates, coffee cups, a coffee pot or Dallah, and the emblem of Saudi Arabia featuring two swords and a palm tree.
Ratzabi was invited to participate in the Chocolate Art Salon at the exhibition, which concluded on Wednesday at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.
During her inaugural visit to Saudi Arabia, Ratzabi sought to express her gratitude by crafting a piece that also celebrates Saudi National Day.
“I was asked by the organization of Foodex to make a piece that is related to the Saudi National Day that takes place within a few days. I welcomed this wonderful challenge and made the logo of the Saudi flag as inspiration.”
As winner of the Belgian Chocolate Award 2023 for “Best Concept, Bronze,” Ratzabi hopes to “bring art to the world of chocolate.”
“I’m a sculptor and I know how to work with chocolate, but I’m not a chocolatier. So, the level of the work that I am doing is museum level and gallery level. I do not comprise on the shapes that I am making and I don’t bow to the material, the material bows to me.”
She said that her inspiration to sculpt with chocolate comes from “the magic, the narrative and the origins of cacao as a ‘food of the gods’ as seen by the Mayans and Aztecs. I believe that transforming materials from bronze to chocolate provides a mesmerizing experience.”
During the food expo, Ratzabi hosted a masterclass titled “When Art Meets Chocolate,” which attracted 30 chefs and culinary students, who cast their creations from molds, and used bronze patina to decorate them.
Overwhelmed by the positive feedback, Ratzabi hopes to visit the Kingdom again to showcase her work, and possibly open a chocolate museum.
“I would love to establish the first chocolate museum in Saudi Arabia and I hope to find enthusiastic partners who share a passion for chocolate sculpture.”
The event, which started on Sept. 17, showcased the latest innovations in the sector and featured 300 brands from 18 countries. Its objective was to attract more brands to the Saudi market by targeting investors from various food sectors and trades.