Theatre meets confectionery in candy spectacle Fantasia

Elephant from the Nature theme, made of sugar paste, chocolate, meringue and pastries, in Fantasia by Escriba, a chocolate wonderland set up by Christian Escriba and his wife Patricia. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Elephant from the Nature theme, made of sugar paste, chocolate, meringue and pastries, in Fantasia by Escriba, a chocolate wonderland set up by Christian Escriba and his wife Patricia. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Christian Escriba does a Willy Wonka with a chocolate waterfall and life-sized creations

It is Peter Pan's fantasy meets Willy Wonka's chocolate factory in a weird and whimsical sugar wonderland called Fantasia by Escriba, the brainchild of pastry chefs Christian Escriba and his wife Patricia Schmidt.

They have built, among other things, an 8.5m-tall chocolate waterfall dripping with four tonnes of lush liquid Callebaut chocolate and a 5m-tall elephant made with sugar paste, chocolate, meringue and pastries.

This theatrical candy wonderland runs from today until Sunday at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre Halls D and E.

This is chef Escriba's version of Neverland, as the 52-year-old likens himself to Peter Pan.

He says in Spanish via a translator: "Like Peter Pan, I don't like a lot of the real things in life, so I create my own world with chocolate, meringue, caramel with fun people and a nice space with nice music. This is Fantasia."

The 8,000 sq m event space is split into different themes.

Nature takes on a safari landscape with life-sized animals, while the History Wall showcases the 108-year-old heritage and iconic creations of the Escriba brand.

The creations include a meringue and sugar-coated El Bulli French bulldog, created for the closing of Ferran Adria's restaurant in 2011, and a 3m-tall Macaroon Eiffel Tower, which was made for cooking competition MasterChef Spain.

Along the way, satiate your sweet tooth with delectable treats that put a twist on savoury food. There is a leg of jamon or ham made of chocolate, as well as Escriba's famous Chocolate Red Lips - a personal favourite of Ms Schmidt, 45. Escriba's chocolates are also on sale at the venue.

Other highlights include acrobatic performances, pastry masterclasses, and an adults-only Midnight@Fantasia tomorrow, which transforms the event space into a cheeky adult party with cocktails, and performances by go-go dancers.

This debut event, which will also make its way to other Asian cities, marks the entrance of Escriba into Asia. Escriba Asia will set up a branch of its pastry school Escriba Academy here, as well as an Escriba Institute for research and development purposes.

The chef is the fourth-generation owner of his family's pastry boutique Pasteleria Escriba in Barcelona, which was founded in 1906. His Brazil-born wife is also an acclaimed pastry chef, working with the likes of Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, and French fashion designer Paloma Picasso.

And there is no limit to the dynamic duo's pastry magic.

Escriba says: "Patricia complements everything I don't have. She's elegant and disciplined. I'm more of the explorer. While everyone goes one way, I go another. But I push myself to the limit."

euniceq@sph.com.sg