All Things Chocolate

All Things Chocolate

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and hors d'oeuvres is on the menu at the YMCA Loudoun County's 18th Annual Chocolates Galore & More. The event, which runs from 7-11 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17, at the Lansdowne Resort in Lansdowne is one of the YMCA's main fund raisers.

"This is one of the Y's three big fund raisers. Our goal is to reach $40,000, or more," said Debbie Strange, the chairwoman of the event for the past six years said.

The money that is earned through the ticket sales, silent auction and live auction all goes to helping the YMCA throughout the year.

"The money helps support the Building Bridges Foundation, camps and after-school programs," said Amy Grabowski, the administrative service director for the YMCA Loudoun County.

THE EVENT, which moved to its current location after its third year, allows participants to taste hors d'oeuvres and deserts from restaurants and organizations in the area.

"We have 17 restaurants that come in and we set up tables; and the restaurants bring deserts and hors d'oeuvres and people go around and sample what they have," said Grabowski.

The food ranges from chocolate martinis to lobster bisque to a chocolate fountain. Each presenter puts on its finest because at the end of the night there is a vote for the best food.

"It's a great cause but we also enjoy being part of so many good displays," said Hillary Bradley the owner of Chocolate Chick, one of the business at this year's event, "Everyone brings their best."

Other chefs at the event will be from places such as the Cold Stone Creamery, South Street Under, Tuscarora Mill, Stratford University and the European Gourmet Bakery.

"We have a really good variety of restaurants this year," said Grabowski, "The restaurants donate all the food and the time for the night, all their chefs come."

DURING THE EVENT there will be a live band playing, free champagne all night and both a silent and live auction going on too.

"We have everything in the auction," said Strange, "spa packages, sporting event packages, autographed Redskins gear, Auto Advantage even donated a four-wheeler for the live auction."

The night starts off with samplings from the different restaurants. Most of the time people go to the hors d'oeuvres first and then the chocolates said Bradley.

"Though sometimes people use the fruit at our chocolate fountain as an excuse to have desert first," she added.

The night then goes on with the auction and the band and dancing.

"The crowd just seems to get along," says Bradley, "a lot of dancing and camaraderie.

The event has grown from its humble beginnings in a car dealership to a much larger yearly tradition. In the past the crowd has gotten as large as 600 or 700 people and Strange says that the event has sold out before.

"There are going to be 26 tables this year because some business are brining both deserts and hors d'oeuvres," said Grabowski.

"It's a great evening for guests to come and sample a wide variety of deserts and appetizers. People come year after year because they know its going to be an outstanding night," Strange said.