Year-end meet-up for chocolate aficionados: Beijing Today

Beijing Today
By Liang Meilan

Chocolate has traditionally been a cold-weather confectionary, so what better time than now for a cocoa-themed gathering?

ChocoJing, a chocolate appreciation society initiated by Elyse Ribbons in 2007, is hosting a meet-up next Sunday, December 26, at the grand opening of CC Sweet, a new pastry shop in town. The store has designed chocolate-based cupcakes exclusively for the event.

ChocoJing has organized more than 20 monthly or bimonthly chocolate tasting and making events at venues all over Beijing.

“Each of our events is different based on the type of chocolate that we are working with,” said Ribbons, host of CRI’s Laowaikandian show, a playwright, actress, director and model from the US.

The most recent event was a three-course chocolate dinner at Flamme at Sanlitun Village, where the chef created a cocoa vinaigrette for the salad, molé sauce for the main and a dessert of chocolate lava cake. Chocolate and wine pairings and hot chocolate tastings are ChocoJing’s proper event modes.

Every now and then, it organizes chocolate workshops. In March, members spent a night trying to create their own truffles at the Fig Tree, a pastry school.

“Knowing well that a chocolate DIY event is an ideal way to explore new types of the confection and at the same time relieve pressure, we are planning a future workshop with tea and chocolate,” Ribbons said.

At ChocoJing’s events, people do more than gorge themselves on chocolate. But Ribbons stressed that these events are not for business networking, so business cards are banned.

“Instead, we make friends, share in exotic and delightful ways of enjoying chocolate, and in general light up the capital with cocoa-infused conversations,” she said.

There are currently about 200 registered “ChocoJingers,” half-expat and half-local.

Events fill up within days of the announcement, so an RSVP to is required.

ChocoJing is an entirely volunteer-run non-profit organization, so a cover charge of around 50 yuan each usually covers expenses for the 60 or so guests. Membership applications can be filled out at

Those want to provide venues or collaborate in events can also write to ChocoJing.

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