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Sweet success: 13th annual World of Chocolate event dishes up decadence

December 8, 2014

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More than 1,100 sweet and savory enthusiasts indulged in a night of tasty creations at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s (AFC) 13th annual World of Chocolate gala, Dec. 4 at Union Station. The one-of-a-kind celebration featured 22 of Chicagoland’s top chocolatiers, chefs and caterers. Held annually in commemoration of World AIDS Day, this year’s event raised approximately $134,000 in support of AFC and their vision for an AIDS-free generation.

Guests at this year’s event enjoyed a plethora of chocolate treats, cocktails and other delicious delicacies – from sweet truffles and white chocolate ganache to more savory dishes like duck breast with a dark chocolate pomegranate-acai drizzle.

An expert panel of judges, including local celebrities and renowned Chicago area chefs, bestowed vendors with awards in five categories:

  • Best Sweet Award for tastiest sweet treat went to Uptown Brownie;
  • Best Savory Award  for tastiest savory treat went to Mercat a la planxa;
  • Best Libation Award for tastiest drink concoction went to Intercontinental Hotel;
  • Best Business Class, Small Business Award  for the small business with the tastiest treat went to Life’s Sweeter Side;
  • Best Business Class, Large Business Award for the large business with tastiest treat went to The Peninsula Chicago;
  • People’s Choice Award for guests’ overall favorite chocolatier went to ZED451.

The judges’ panel included: A Cook’s Canvas food writer Veronica LePinske; Alliance Bakery owner and executive pastry chef Peter Rios; Barry Callebaut chef Mark Seaman; Café des Architectes executive pastry chef Leigh Omilinksy; Chicago Chocolate Tours founder Valerie Beck; Just Like U Like It Catering founder Andrea Alexander; La Parisianne du Chocolat owner Robyn Rice-Foster; Nico Osteria partner Kimberly Galban; Nico Osteria pastry chef Amanda Rockman; and WLS (ABC)’s franklyHANK, Hank Manheim.

Prizes were raffled off to guests throughout the evening including luxury vacations to New York and Los Angeles, and gift certificates to 12 of Chicago’s most alluring restaurants.

Funds raised through World of Chocolate will support AFC’s policy and public education programs.

“It was a joyful night with an important purpose — to raise significant funds for the cause and remind us all that HIV is still an important issue,” said John Peller, AFC’s president/CEO.

Generous vendors participating in World of Chocolate included: Argo Tea, Baron Chocolatier Chocolate, Chocolat Uzma Sharif, Das Foods LLC, Dove Chocolate Discoveries, InterContinental Chicago, Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Life’s Sweeter Sides, mEAT on Chestnut, Mercat a la Planxa, The Peninsula Chicago, Prasino LaGrange, RL Restaurant, Sophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue, Starbucks, Uptown Brownie, Vanille Patisserie, Walgreens, Wao Bao-Hot Asian Buns and ZED451.

This year’s World of Chocolate sponsors and media partners included: A&U Magazine; Barry Callebaut; Bell Litho Printing; Best Gay Chicago; Blommer Chocolate Company; BMO Harris Bank; BOI Magazine; Chicago Magazine; ChicagoPride.com; CRAM Fashion; Daniel Paterno, hairstylist; First Light Group LLC; Food for Thought Catering; Gay Chic Magazine; Gilead; GRAB Magazine; Harmony, A WellCare Company; John Gress; Kehoe Designs; Lady Gregory’s Irish Bar & Restaurant; Lulu’s on the Avenue; Mel Wilson Makeup; McDonald’s; Michigan Avenue Magazine; Paterno Group; PepsiCo; Richard’s Fabulous Finds; Stolichnaya Vodka; Walgreens; Wilde Bar & Restaurant, Windy City Media Group; and Winebow.

Categorized under Special events.

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