by Marina Watson Pelaez

LISBON, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Drinking red liquor from chocolate cups while wondering around the castle of Obidos, around 100 km north of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, visitors of the 14th edition of Obidos international chocolate fair have enjoyed happy time.

For people who love chocolate, it was a paradise: there were chocolate cooking shows, stands selling hot chocolate and all kinds of chocolate sculptures.

"We have a lot of variety at the festival,so people try a bit of everything. I sell Ginja liquor, suspiros and chocolate, which we buy locally,"said Lurdes Oliveira, one seller behind one of the many stands.

Suspiros are typical sweets made of egg whites and sugar, and Ginja liquor is obtained from the maceration of the fruit which is similar to cherries.

Another man is selling "Beijinhos de Obidos," (Kisses from Obidos), a local speciality made by biscuit covered in chocolate.

"It's the most typical product here,"he said,"We have a factory locally and we are here for the second or third time."

Antonio Pereira, 19, has been selling hot chocolate in castle cups which people can take home as a souvenir. He said his stand is doing well, which can be proven by the number of people queuing up for a cup.

At the other end of the chocolate fair, a sign led people to a giant tent. There were sculptures inside so sophisticated that one can not believe they are made of chocolate.

This year the theme for the sculptures was"water" and the lagoon of Obidos, so there were sculptures with snakes, foxes, owls and boats, full of colours and details.

"The theme this year is water, the lagoon of Obidos, so we tried to think of both sea animals and terrestrial animals that can be found in Obidos," technical director of the festival Victor Nunes told Xinhua.

The ideas for the sculptures every year are put forward by the local council, which his team of 11 chefs then develop.

"It is like a Louvre of the festival, there are a lot of details in the pieces," Nunes adds,"The budget for the festival was very high because it is a big event. The festival also has activities for children."

Rui Alves, was the chef of one of the sculptures and present at the fair to welcome attendees.

"It is the fourth year I am here and it is always a challenge because they are things I don't make every day. I never imagined I could make an owl or a pheasant or even the face of a person," he said.

"Some (sculptures) can take a week, while others can take a month. The piece we made are a pheasant and an owl and a frog, flora that exists around the lagoon of Obidos."

Many people from Portugal and abroad has come to the event. Emilia Matos, 59, a real estate mediator came to visit the fair with a group of friends from Vila Nova de Familicao, north Portugal.

"It's the first time I have been here," she told Xinhua as she left the event. "We had a lot of fun with some funny mirrors that made us look big or small. And we bought chocolates and suspiros and drank ginginha."

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