All good #Food festivals need a showstopping exhibit that will draw in the crowds and bring in media attention and there are two directions to take – big and bold with lots of skill on show or something unusual. The life-size sculpture of Vladimir Putin at the St Petersburg Festival of Chocolate is both.

 

A festival of chocolate sounds like a wonderful, light-hearted occasion where chocolate lovers and foodies can enjoy the different tastes and smells of the creations of master chocolatiers and marvel at the intricate work that goes into some of the beautiful sculptures and centrepieces. With Christmas around the corner it is surely the perfect time to tempt people and make some sales with festive treats that are too good to eat yet also irresistible. The Festival of Chocolate in St Petersburg has taken a slightly different approach – less fantasy and wonder and more cold, hard realism.

 

The main event, as it were, for this years festival is the life-sized statue of Vladimir Putin, with additional sculptures of his dog, Connie, and for some reason a briefcase. The sculptor, Nikita Gusev, has done a pretty good job at recreating the Russian leader with his facial structure and expression – the thumbs up and the smile being particularly creepy – and there is an interesting sense of abstraction to the dog.

 

Was this a waste of perfectly good chocolate?

 

Chocoholics across the world will be looking at this lifelike sculpture and despairing that 70kg of quality chocolate was used for these three subjects, especially upon learning that the Putin statue won't even be broken down and eaten. Putin, however, will no doubt see this replication in chocolate form as a compliment and it will be an attention-grabbing highlight that is seen across the world – for better or worse. There are probably worse things to make a sculpture of at a food fair than the nation's leader (although we rarely see any artistic representations of David Cameron made out of Victoria sponges) and there is something apt about a life-size Putin made of cold, dark, bitter chocolate. #Art #Festivities