Yael rose tells Jaine Blackman what inspired her to organise Oxford Chocolate Festival which arrives this week

Watching TV in 2008 Yael Rose – the woman behind the Oxford Chocolate Festival – had a bit of an epiphany.

“I was always a chocoholic, but a programme about chocolate on Channel 4 made me view it in a whole new light.

“I then decided, I must organise a chocolate festival,” says Yael, 38, who was brought up on a kibbutz in Israel, where youngsters were expected to work one day a week from the age of 12.

The programme was Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory about entrepreneur William “Willie” George Harcourt-Cooze, who bought a cocoa plantation in Venezuela, imported the beans and started making his own chocolate.

“I’ve been organising events for years, starting with my wedding,” says Yael, right, who has five children – sons Shemen, 12, Wasimba, 10, Jude, eight, and Amitai, seven, and daughter Eli-Sara, nine months.

“The big turning point came after my neighbour gave birth to her baby prematurely, at 25 weeks. I decided to organise a fundraiser for the baby charity Tommy’s and caught the event bug.”

The first event was held in London, where she lives with her musician husband Dereck. “There was nothing of that kind in London at the time, and the response to our first event was amazing. Around 30,000 visitors came and loved it,” says Yael.

Since then she has branched out to other cities, including Oxford.

“My husband used to live in the city and we have personal friends in Oxford, so it was always a favourite destination to go to with the children – even just on a day trip, walking along the canal, sitting in the meadows having a picnic etc.

“We’ve had three events in Oxford’s Broad Street before, held annually starting in Easter 2011. We enjoyed immensely being in the centre of town and always had a great number of visitors but the weather was too unpredictable,” she says.

So this year the festival is being held at Oxford Town Hall, today and tomorrow, and around 5,000 to 6,000 visitors are expected over the course of the two days.

“In terms of the Chocolate Festival, I felt the educated and well-cultured residents would understand what artisan chocolatiers were about and appreciate the slightly more high-end products. And I was right!”

The Oxford Chocolate Festival runs today and tomorrow at Oxford Town Hall from 10am to 6pm. Tickets on the door are £5. See festivalchocolate.co.uk