Saturday night I attended For the Love of Chocolate, the French Pastry School’s scholarship fundraising affair in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.
In one evening, I went from a girl who thought chocolate fountains were impressive to a woman who had eaten a chocolate pudding passion fruit cup that tasted like, well, like theobroma, truly food from the gods.
The party felt like a blurry chocolate high.
Even though by evening’s end, my shiny black heels felt like needles piercing the balls of my feet, I had sampled and savored. Moreover, I had collected a stash of chef’s business cards filled with unintelligible scribbles like “jello shot, 3 tier” and “chocolate heart, spicy” to help relive those moments.
It was all so wonderful.
The event, which featured about 900 attendees (some of whom wore chocolate dresses) and more than 50 well-known chefs, continues to grow in size and stature. Think of it as a supermarket sample Saturday mixed with black tie fashions and gourmet everything, plus music. Alongside Marie Antoinette girls wearings lavish dessert tables as gowns, there were Willy Wonka Oompa-Loompas walking around, chocolate body paint stations, and tables, and tables and tables and tables of fabulous food.
My favorite was the passion fruit-chocolate creation I mentioned above, by Sarah Kosikowski, the executive pastry chef at Trump International Hotel and Tower. However, I also enjoyed the chocolate raspberry treat from Norm D. Miller, the pastry chef at Normy’s Confection Connection, as well as the coconut macaroon from the Lovely Bake shop.
The three-tier citrus dessert made by Sweet Vee’s Laboraty, which featured a piece of gelatin and was inspired by a Jell-O shot, was pretty awesome as well.
In addition, the chocolate heart that set my mouth on fire by Chocolate Potpourri was a wonderful contradiction in my mouth that truly symbolized love’s intensity. And really, after eating about four gazillion treats, it’s kind of hard to look back and pick out top choices.
A number of other items were also incredible, and I’m sure everyone who attended had their own personal favorites.
Our editorial intern, Grace Weitz, also attended the event and will have a full report in our March issue. From what I understand, she fell in love with the garbanzo bean soup with falafel, sumac, pickled Asian pear and caramelized egg yolk, by David Posey, chef de cuisine, and Paul Kahan, executive chef at Blackbird.
And believe me, it takes a lot for a soup dish to stand out at a chocolate affair like this.
- Crystal Lindell, associate editor