Around 1,100 guests came together at Revel Fulton Market to celebrate the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s (AFC) 15th annual World of Chocolate gala on Thursday, Dec. 1. The evening raised $105,000 (net) to support the vital services AFC provides to thousands of Chicagoans each year, in addition to its work to make health equity and justice a reality in Illinois and beyond through its care, policy, advocacy and education efforts. Click here for photos from the event.
“This year, our work has taken on new meaning. As AIDS advocates, we are fighting for the lives of people who are most greatly impacted by HIV and other chronic illnesses,” said John Peller, AFC president/CEO. “World of Chocolate was a fun, delicious way to raise money for what will be one of our most crucial fights for equity and justice in the coming years.”
Timed to coincide with the annual World AIDS Day commemoration, guests sampled chocolate creations crafted by 21 area chocolatiers, each ranging from sweet to savory to boozy. Six local celebrities, food writers and Chicago-area chefs judged the participating vendors in six categories; partygoers had their say, too, with the People’s Choice Award. Winners include:
People's Choice: InterContinental, Chicago Magnificent Mile
Best Sweet: The Peninsula
Best Savory: Cindy’s, Chicago Athletic Association
Best Sculpture: Kendall College School of Culinary Arts
Best Libation: Dove Chocolate Discoveries
Best Small Business: Uptown Brownie
Best Large Business: The Peninsula
The judges’ panel included: Lorin Adolph, personal chef; Andrea Alexander, Just Like U Like It Catering; Valerie Beck, Chicago Chocolate Tours; Maggie Hennessy, chef and co-author of the forthcoming Twisted Spoke cookbook; Hank Mendheim, ABC7/FranklyHANK; and Laura Schwartz, TV personality and author of Eat, Drink & Succeed.
Beyond chocolate, the evening featured a punchboard filled with donated prizes, a raffle for three extravagant vacations, an energizing performance by Naughty Little Cabaret, and more.
Funds raised through World of Chocolate support AFC’s work to mobilize communities to overcome health inequities and help people living with chronic illnesses like HIV thrive. Proceeds from the event will:
Generous vendors participating in World of Chocolate included: Cafe des Architectes, Sofitel Chicago Water Tower; CH Distillery; Cindy's, Chicago Athletic Association Hotel; Dove Chocolate Discoveries; Fred's of Barneys New York Chicago; Hilton Chicago; Intercontinental Hotel; Kendall College School of Culinary Arts; La Taberna Tapas; LondonHouse Chicago; Mariano's; The Peninsula Chicago; Prasino LaGrange; Starbucks; Terry's Toffee; Uptown Brownie; Vanille Patisserie; Virgin Hotels Chicago; Walgreens presents My Chocolate Soul; Wow Bao and ZED451.
This year’s World of Chocolate sponsors and media partners included: A&U Magazine; Abbott; Aetna Better Health of Illinois; AFR Furniture Rental & Event Furnishings; Barry Callebaut; Bell Litho; BestGayChicago.com; BMO Harris Bank; Castillo Tours; CH Distillery; ChicagoPride.com; Condado Vanderbilt Hotel; Destination Puerto Rico; Food for Thought; Gilead; GRAB Magazine; Harmony, A WellCare Company; Humana; Janssen Therapeutics; Kehoe Designs; Lady Gregory's Irish Bar & Restaurant; Mariano’s; MGM Grand Las Vegas; Michigan Avenue Magazine; MillerCoors; Northern Trust; Orbitz; PepsiCo; Public Communications Inc.; RST; Walgreens; Wilde Bar & Restaurant; Windy City Media Group; Winebow; Wyndham Grand Rio Mar.