Chocolate reigns on a rainy day

Visitors to the Chocolate Lovers festival get a taste of the winning cake in the professional division, a chocolate cake shaped like a mushroom tray in a mushroom house.

Chocolate was a rainy-day king Sunday during the seventh annual Kennett Chocolate Lovers Festival held at Kennett High School. The event is a fundraiser for the United Way of Southern Chester County, and UWSCC CEO Carrie Freeman said the festival raised more than $100,000 in its first six years.

Freeman said her goal for this year was $20,000 but fell short. The festival brought in $13,705, but Freeman wasn't dismayed.

"We fell short because of attendance, but we were fighting a torrential downpour. With $13,705, I'm still a happy camper," she said.

The money goes to the UWSCC's community impact fund that provides funds for 26 different programs.

The 2018 festival had 167 entrants broken down into professional, amateur and student divisions competing in five categories: cake, cupcakes, cookies, candies and brownies.

Youngsters try a sample of some cocoa nibs straight from the shell. Not sweet enough for their taste.

Freeman poured praise on all the bakers, regardless of which division.

"All the bakers, from professional to amateur to students, what they bake for us is unbelievable," she said.

One of her favorites, she said, was a chocolate cake in the form of a mushroom tray, complete with mushrooms made of white chocolate. That entry — by The Mexican Table in Kennett Square — won first place in the professional division, cake category. Nick Quiroz designed the cake, and Mauricio Hernandez did the baking, Freeman said.

Attendees walked through the school gymnasium sampling the offerings, oohing over the taste sensations and praising the reason for the event.

"There's so much to choose from," said Lois Shaffer, of Morgantown. "It's a wonderful idea since students are involved."

Renee´ Train, of Oxford, was attending for the second time and was amazed at how it's grown.

"It's huge. It's a good, exciting community event that supports a good cause," she said.

Like last year, there was a raffle for a chocolate dessert per month for a full year. Tickets were $10 a piece or three for $20. The winner gets 12 gift certificates and then makes arrangements with the participating bakers to get their dessert.

Last year's winner, Sharon Johnson of West Grove, said it was well worth it. She told a story about one chocolate cake from The Gables in Pennsbury Township.

"It was huge. I thought it was just going to be a piece and was hoping there'd be enough for my husband, too, but it was the whole cake. It was delicious," she said.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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