Peninsula Hotel is BIG Winner at World of Chocolate!

Peninsula winners at World of Chocolate 2010.JPG

The Peninsula Hotel won 3 of the 5 awards at this year's World of Chocolate.

There were 1700 people at this year's 9th annual World of Chocolate benefitting the Aids Foundation of Chicago and 26 entries competing for five awards. Categories included tastiest chocolate treat (The Hot Chocolate Award), most creative use of chocolate (The Loco Cocoa Award), best presentation (table dressing, signs, other decor--The Sweetbooth Award), best artistry for most visually enticing (The Chocoholic's Dream) and the Judge's Award for their favorite overall.   Judges this year included Miss Foozie, Billy Dec, Bill Pritchard, Richard Dayhoff, Jen Jeffcoat, Steven Hamilton, Sarah Levy, Loni Swain, Fritz Knipschildt, Malika Ameen, Valerie Beck, Kathy Brock and moi.  (It was a bittersweet job but someone had to do it!  :-) 

This event was a magnet for the politicos too with Mayoral hopeful Rahm Emmanuel in attendance as well as guest of honor, Governor Pat Quinn, who promised to sign the bill to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples in the New Year, which will then go into effect in June.  (The Illinois State Senate had already approved the bill by a vote of 32-24.  The House had approved the bill the day before.)  YEAHHHHH!!!! 

Anyway, BIG congrats to the Peninsula Hotel who almost swept the competition winning three of the five awards: the Sweetbooth Award, Chocoholic's Dream Award AND the People's Choice Award (all around favorite vendor selected by World of Chocolate guests).  Congrats on another big year Pen!!  Other winners included Terry's Toffee who won the Hot Chocolate Award (tastiest chocolate treat....they had created a treat consisting of chocolate and every kind of nut you could think of just for this event and it was out of this world!  These guys also give back in so many ways to their community so I was thrilled to see them win.)   The other winner for the most creative use of chocolate (The Loco Cocoa Award) went to the Hearty Boys. Congrats to Jim Miller!  Their entry was to die for and consisted of BBQ pulled pork in bourbon sauce with chocolate sauce mixed into both the pork and the sauce as well as mashed sweet potatoes covered in chocolate sauce!   It was an amazingly tasty combination! 

Other standouts included Mama Picky's, whose family has been in business since the '20's and even grows their own pecans used in their chocolates!  I loved the Palmer House's retro 70's booth with lighted Tab cans on the walls too.  They served mini Tab chocolate floats all the while dressed in funky '70's garb.  I loved the dark chocolate with sea salt served by Chocopologie Knipschildt Chocolatiers, which was also picked as one of Oprah's Favorite Things (of course!).  Just Like U Like It Catering served up some tasty chocolate comfort food treats that included mashed potatoes covered in chocolate sauce!

This event, which commemorated World AIDS Day, always attracts a fun crowd and is on my must-do list every year.  Congrats to all who participated!  $170,000 was raised to support the AFC and the fight against HIV/AIDS.  (www.AidsChicago.org)  

(Additional pics by Steve Starr). (www.CandidCandace.com)

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