Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Chocolate Gala to offer sweets for all

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Photos courtesy of Frederick Sister Cities Association
The 7th annual Chocolate Gala will feature sweet treats and nine restaurants competing for the title of Best Chocolatier.
Larger-than-life chocolate sculptures, flowing chocolate fountains, tables upon tables of delectable desserts and some homegrown wine to wash it all down will greet visitors to the 7th Annual Chocolate Gala on Monday at Frederick’s Lynfield Event Complex.

Sponsored by the Frederick County Sister Cities Association, the event is one of the nonprofit group’s largest fund-raisers of the year, attracting a crowd of more than 500.

‘‘It’s going to be so fun. We have nine different restaurants competing for the best,” said Dirci Borelli Marquart, chair of this year’s Gala.

Due to the overwhelming response to this event, this year the group moved it to the Lynfield Complex, which can accommodate more people.

‘‘We’re expecting a much larger crowd this year,” Marquart said.

A big attraction will be the three-foot tall Dove-like sculpture of the group’s logo that students at the Frederick Community College Culinary and Hospitality Institute have created over the past month.

‘‘It’s a very detailed logo with a blend of white and dark chocolate tallow that is completely edible,” said Jon Kimbrough, program manager and professor for the Institute that has been in existence since 2002.

Kimbrough and his students are looking forward to the unveiling, after weeks of painstaking work to create the masterpiece.

For the past several years, culinary students have been involved in the Gala by creating their own chocolate masterpiece, but this year Kimbrough wanted to do something different. So he set up his 16 students to be on hand during the event, helping all of the professional chefs from the various local restaurants.

‘‘I’m sure that this will help our students to be able to network with them this year and set up internships,” Kimbrough said.

At the Chocolate Gala, the nine restaurants will be competing for the title of best ‘‘chocolatier” in the area, as determined by a group of judges. There will also be musical entertainment, a silent auction and wine from local wineries, Marquart said.

New this year will also be the unveiling of the Youth Ambassador for Peace Program, recognizing young people from the community who are exemplary citizens.

‘‘Our mission is to link us with other cities in the greater community and we want to bring to the public the real reason why we exist, so we’re launching this program,” Marquart said.

Those who are competing to be named 2008 Youth Ambassador for Peace will be announced at the Gala with the winner announced during Brazil Day in Frederick, held in September at Baker Park.

The Ambassador program will take contestants through a series of tests before determining a winner. That person will then win a free trip to visit one of Frederick’s sister cities, Brazil. Another winner may go to Germany, which is the other sister city, Marquart said.

‘‘Then at next year’s Gala, those people will share their stories about the trip and pass their title on to the next person. People are very excited about this program,” she said.

Chocolate Gala

When: 6-9 p.m. Monday

Where: Lynfield Event Complex, 10142 Hansonville Road, Frederick

Tickets: $30; Corporate tables available for $200

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