More than 30 chocolatiers, restaurants and caterers participated in the World of Chocolate, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago
's (AFC) signature holiday extravaganza.
The annual holiday benefit held at the Hilton Chicago Thursday night raised over $200,000 for the AFC.
Throughout the evening, the crowd of over 1,500 chocolate lovers savored sweet treats. In addition to the delectable spread, guests browsed the Holiday Bazaar featuring gifts from Batsiranai, a women's handicraft group in Zimbabwe that supports mothers of disabled children, many of whom are living with HIV/AIDS.
The Peninsula walked away with three top prizes: the Locoa Cocoa Award for most creative use of chocolate, the Sweetbooth Award for best presentation as well as the People's Choice Award. Terry's Toffee won the Hot Chocolate Award for overall tastiest treat and the University Club won the Chocoholic's Dream Award for most visually enticing dish.
Musical entertainment was provided by DJ Mark Picchiotti, who has collaborated with artists including Kylie Minogue.
Local celebrity judges, included ABC7's Kevin Roy, Miss Foozie
, ChicagoNow blogger Candice Jordan
, radio personality Darryll King of WYCA-FM 102.3, Bill Pritchard
of ChicagoPride.com and Billy Dec
. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn also made an appearance at the event.
Illinois has the nation's seventh highest number of reported AIDS cases, totaling 30,000 since 1981.
World AIDS Day is a worldwide effort to increase public awareness and encourage support and programming to prevent the spread of HIV infection.