Hundreds of Chicagoans gathered at Union Station Dec. 4, when its Great Hall was transformed into a veritable realm of sweets.
AIDS Foundation of Chicago's annual fundraising event World of Chocolate featured more than 20 chocolatiers, including Argo Tea, Baron Chocolatier Chocolate, Chocolat Uzma Sharif, Das Foods, LLC, Dove Chocolate Discoveries, Hotel InterContinental Chicago, Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Life's Sweeter Side, mEAT on Chestnut, Mercat a la Planxa, The Peninsula Chicago, Prasino LaGrange, Riques Cocina Mexicana, RL Restaurant, Sophie's at Saks Fifth Avenue, Starbucks, Uptown Brownie, Vanilla Patisserie, Walgreens, Wow Bao and ZED451.
Offerings ranged from sweet to savory, and traditional to exotic. RL Restaurant soaked its brownies in rum, while Wow Bao served a warm chocolate ganache in dim sum-style bao buns. Uptown Brownie presented what it called its "Velvet Elvis" brownie, featuring peanut butter, marshmallow, candied bacon and banana chips.
Carnivores weren't left out in the lurch, eitherBaron Chocolatier served duck breast with a dark chocolate pomegranate-acai drizzle; InterContinental Chicago presented a bitter chocolate braised short rib with celery-root mousse; and Sophie's at Saks Fifth Avenue offered a stuffed roulade of turkey, guajillo spiced squash purée and dark chocolate mole.
Winners of this year's chocolatier competition included Uptown Brownie for Best Sweet; Mercat a la Planxa for Best Savory; InterContinental Chicago for Best Libation; ZED451 for People's Choice; Life's Sweeter Side for Business Class 1 and The Peninsula Chicago for Business Class 2.