NUNN IN THE OVEN
Exploring a World of Chocolate
Sat. February 18, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn
Since 1987, AIDS Foundation Chicago has been making an impact on the HIV community and World of Chocolate was created in 2001 to raise much-needed funds.
While the charity event has evolved over the years, the important cause has remained the same.
February 17, 2023, was a return to glory for the major fundraiser after a three-year hiatus and it was also a homecoming to a venue the planners have used in the past with the iconic Union Station.
More than one thousand guests attended that night raising over $250,000 for the organization. Folks were dressed fashionably for a chilly night in Chicago and they were certainly ready to party.
DJ Moose mixed in the tunes and stacks of chocolate were displayed in every corner on vendor tables. Several open bars, gender-neutral restrooms and coat check surrounded the massive space for patrons. The punch wall raffle was another welcome return to the festivities as donors could pick a price point and then bust through the paper circle to grab a mystery prize.
Thankfully, buffets accompanied the cocoa experience to give hungry attendees other options for sustenance. Rib sliders, chicken tenders and pastry-style pizza were just a few of the offerings at the three tables spread throughout the space.
A separate VIP lounge was located in a side room to provide a private bar, exclusive sitting areas and lighter cuisine for high-end ticket holders.
There were 22 chocolatiers that contributed to the event and a panel voted on six categories for contributers to take home trophies. Executive pastry chef Toni Roberts' team from the Ritz Carlton dominated by taking home Best Large Business and People's Choice.
JoJo's Shake Bar won the Best Libation award and their milkshake brought so many boys to the yard that they ran out during the last hour!
Some noticeable snubs included the Vanille Chicago which clearly had the best table display and Cindy's Rooftop with a considerable portion of decadent s'mores samples torched on the spot in front of guests.
Sponsors for the festivities included PepsiCo, Walgreens, and BMO Harris among others. The huge endeavor was not only awarded with a large payoff but created awareness as well. This is part of a national initiative to have no new positive HIV cases by the year 2030.