Hubert Burda Media

A Choc-tastic Wonderland

Husband-and-wife team Christian Escribà and Patricia Schmidt are all set to create a surreal confectionary experience right out of a movie.

A Choc-tastic Wonderland

For any chocolate lover, walking into a room with a mini-Niagara Falls of chocolate is a decadent dream come true. And that is precisely what Escribà — the popular Barcelona patisserie captained by master pastry chefs Christian Escribà and Patricia Schmidt — will bring to Singapore this August.
The world's first confectionary experiential extravaganza, Fantasia by Escribà will turn this dream into a reality, marking the Spanish pastry brand's first overseas launch at Marina Bay Sands.
Counted among the most revered in their field while sharing a common love for pastry, both chefs have their individual list of loyal clientele and body of work that speaks volumes of their magnanimous craft and talent.
An important member of the jury at the 2011 World Chocolate Masters competition, an adored judge on MasterChef Spain in 2013 and 2014, and an invited guest speaker at various gastronomic events, chef Escribà is the fourth generation of the renowned culinary artistic family from Barcelona. His wife is considered the best pastry chef by Cakes & Sugarcraft magazine for her sumptuous designs, and is the author of Decorating Mini Cakes and Decorated Cakes.
After having established a name of their own, what comes out of the couple's professional collaboration is an incredulous result of talent and imagination to be witnessed at the three-day event. Planned to be a biennial event, it will centre on an 8.5m-tall chocolate fall, Callebaut — an attempt to reach a new Guinness World Record for the World's Tallest Chocolate Fall — among 22 other masterpieces in this experiential wonderland of chocolate, sugar and pastries.
Amid the preparation, chef Escribà shares how the notion of Fantasia by Escribà was conceived.
How did the idea of Fantasia by Escribà come about?
Fantasia started off as a dream — an abstract concept moulded around joy, amazement and wonder — that has grown, solidified and quite literally taken a life of its own. It is not just about creating larger-than-life showpieces, but an experience that engages the senses and one that we hope will be unforgettable, being the first event of its kind in Singapore and the world.
What is the main driver behind this extravaganza?
Fantasia is all about joy, amazement and wonder. We want the guests to immerse themselves in large chocolate masterpieces, engage in spectacular activities and fill the senses with delight, awe and wonder. Attendees can expect to see a 2m-high moon, complete with blinking eyes and articulating mouth to welcome visitors; life-sized safari animals including an elephant and tiger fashioned out of chocolate, meringue and sugar elements; a 5m-tall, multi-tiered cake; an incredible edible wall and our attempt to set the world record for the world's tallest chocolate fall with the 8.5m Callebaut Falls.
The event is also a partnership with ComChest. What does the partnership hope to achieve?
We're committed to bringing joy and excitement to one and all when Fantasia by Escribà arrives in Singapore, a commitment that extends to the community's underprivileged and the unsung heroes who care for them. ComChest's dedication to supporting social service programmes made them our ideal choice to partner with. With an Escribà Affair on August 21 (its global opening), we will hold a charity auction of specially created Escribà masterpieces from which proceeds will be donated to the organisation. Additionally, Sweet Gestures@Fantasìa, held the next day, will also welcome up to 4,000 charity staff, caregivers and beneficiaries of Singapore's social services for a dedicated session, during which they'll get to experience a visual spectacle and awe-inspiring showcase.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
The key to inspiration is to be thinking pastry 24/7. When you are always thinking in terms of pastry, you start seeing cakes instead of freezers or lamps and the world surrounding you changes into a world of sweets. Inspiration can come from different sources such as nature, movies, Internet and my own experiences. For instance, I can even imagine trees as giant muffins. As long as your mind is receptive to creativity, everything works as inspiration.
Growing up, did you always want to be in the pastry business?
I always wanted to be a pastry chef and if I were to be born again, I will still choose to be one. Since I was born into a family of pastry chefs and bakers, it is my way of expressing my feelings.
If not a pastry chef, what might you have become?
A musician. I would have first studied music history very thoroughly to develop a foundation of history, technique and style in order to create my own pieces. Creative people, in the end, want to learn and explore to be able to choose their own style and creation.
Which creation of yours was the most difficult to master?
My most difficult creation is always the one that is coming up next. In this case, it would be Fantasia.
And what is your favourite?
It would be the Ferran Adriá's wedding cake.
Fantasia by Escribà will be held at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre, Halls D&E from August 22-24, 2014.