Candies and pastries compete at the Chocolate Lovers Fantasy
By Linda A. Odum firstname.lastname@example.org
For chocoholics, Sunday, June 1, is the day to indulge.
The sixth annual Chocolate Lovers Fantasy event will take place at the Radisson in Manchester from noon to 4 p.m., and the proceeds will benefit the programs of the CareGivers Inc. of Manchester.
“For one entrance fee, people get to eat chocolate all day long,” said CareGivers special events coordinator Mary Ellen Subisak. “This is our premier fundraiser of the year. It brings in the most revenue so we can continue our existing programs and add new services.”
The idea originated with executive director Donny Guillemette, who saw a similar event held in his home state of Maine.
“They do a fundraiser in Portland that is similar to this. When I came to Manchester, there were no chocolate-related events around, so we borrowed the idea,” he said.
CareGivers Inc. is an organization that matches volunteer resources to people who need non-emergency assistance, such as a ride to the store, help around the house, or even a friendly person to check on them. The group currently helps about 700 clients and has about 200 volunteers. “We don’t charge any fees for our services,” Guillemette said. “We try to allow the elderly or disabled to stay independent and in their home as long as possible.”
Some of this year’s participants include Van Otis Chocolates, Lindt Chocolate Shop, Clay’s Chocolate Shop, Michele’s Sweet Shoppe, Priscilla Candies, and The Chocolate Moose. Restaurants will be represented by places such as Murphy’s Tap Room, Richard’s Bistro, and Bugaboo Creek Steak House. There will also be coffee and wine purveyors, and even a day spa with their chocolate spa products.
Comcast volunteers will once again man a crepe station. Attendees can fill a crepe with fruit of their choice and then drizzle the whole thing with chocolate sauce.
Also, Swan Chocolates will have their signature chocolate fountain on hand so guests can dip strawberries, marshmallows or pretzels into the shower of Belgium chocolate.
“We have developed a huge following of customers who come to the event to see us,” said Theresa Anderson, owner of Swan Chocolates.
Anderson also plans to serve their melt-away chocolates, which are soft truffle centers rolled in cocoa powder. They melt in the mouth almost instantly. Her husband Michael will make brownies that contain 70 percent Tanzanian dark chocolate. They will bring 35 pounds of chocolate to the event.
Anderson’s shop participated in the first chocolate lovers’ day six years ago. “We had such a great experience. I think the guests like being there to help a good cause,” she said.
Beside the chance to eat yourself into a chocolate coma, there will also be music from local musicians. A silent auction is now available online and will conclude at the event. Items up for bid include sports and concert tickets and memorabilia, as well as vacation packages, restaurant certificates and art pieces. There will also be raffles.
Guillemette said the event raised approximately $20,000 last year for the CareGivers. This year the organization hopes to get 1,500 people to attend, which would be a sellout. “It’s a chocolate tasting event designed specifically for chocolate lovers,” he said. “Participants can sample unlimited amounts of the chocolates.”
Tickets cost $17 per person in advance, $19 at the door.