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World of Chocolate's sweet success

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More than 1,500 people filled the Hilton Chicago's International Ballroom Dec. 1—World AIDS Day—as the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) marked the 10th anniversary of the sumptous event known as World of Chocolate.

It truly was a realm of sweetness as 30 local caterers, chocolatiers and restaurants had various offerings ranging from a chocolate/red wine concoction to a chocolate grilled cheese sandwich. There were also a DJ, open bar, $50 punch board, gift center and a buffet.

AFC emailed Windy City Times Dec. 2 that the event grossed $300,000.

The judges—who included drag entertainers Cyon Flare and Miss Foozie and WLS-TV news anchor Kathy Brock among the 16—honored Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts with the Hot Chocolate Award, making the school the night's grand-prize winner. Others honored included Talbott Teas ( Loco Cocoa Award ) , Terry's Toffee ( Sweet Booth Award ) , the Peninsula Hotel ( Chocoholic's Dream Award ) and Just Like U Like It Catering ( People's Choice Award ) .

AFC Executive Director David Ernesto Munar told Windy City Times, "We're so grateful for the thousands of guests and two dozen chocolatiers who commemorated World AIDS Day by helping AFC raise funds for the fight against AIDS.

"As guests walked into the ballroom they were greeted by a gigantic display of the word 'HOPE,' which captures exactly how we feel. Ending AIDS is now technologically possible if we bring effective strategies to scale, which why private giving remains so critically important."

Munar also said, "Anyone inspired on World AIDS Day can help AFC change the story about AIDS by making a $10 donation via their cell phone. It's as easy as texting the word CHANGE to 80077. Ten dollars is the cost of a rapid testing kit, two outreach packet with condoms and health information or a meal for homeless person with AIDS. We're out of chocolate but have an abundance of hope to share for those who will join us."

Text by Andrew Davis, and photos by Ross Forman and Kat Fitzgerald ( ) ; see more pics at

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