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Sweet treats abound at chocolate festival

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ARLEE — Just in time to whet appetites for Valentine’s Day treats, the sixth annual Chocolate Lovers Festival drew a crowd to the Heart View Center for a night of chocolaty fun Feb. 11. 

When tasting began at 6:30 p.m., long lines quickly formed at three tables laden with an assortment of cakes, brownies, cookies, fudge and candy. Festival entries were split into 10 divisions: nuttiest; chocolate substitute; fruitiest; creamiest; most chocolaty; low or sugar substitute; best cookies/bars; best cake/torte; best cheesecake/pie and best candy/fudge. After sampling all the treats, festival-goers voted for their favorites in each category before heading to the auction at 7:30.

“It’s a hoot … from the kids to the seniors, it’s quite a party,” Arlee Community Development Corporation president Paul Mollica said.

The Arlee CDC holds the festival each year as a fundraiser for its youth programs and to support the Jocko Valley Library.

“Especially considering the economy and all of that, we did really well,” secretary Kelley Brown said of this year’s event. 

The chocolate festival proceeds will be split between the Jocko Valley Library and the CDC’s youth programs, like the after-school art program and the Imagination Library, which provides a free book every month to qualifying children 5 and under. The event brought in about $2,500, “a little less than last year, but given everything, it’s very generous of the community,” festival organizer Philippa Crawford said.

She estimated that 75-100 people came to sample the tasty concoctions and bid on the 23 auction items, which included all sorts of chocolate creations. Sara Bauer’s lemon and chocolate truffles and Katie Parson’s Olympic chocolate mousse were the top-selling items, going for $155 each. 

Art created by students in the CDC’s after-school art program was also on display, including a recent coffee stain project that involved kids pouring coffee on white paper, letting the stain spread, and then drawing imaginative shapes over the stain. The kids also made no-bake cookies to enter in the chocolate festival, according to Crawford, who also directs the after-school art program. 

The festival’s planning committee moved the event to the Heart View Center this year, since it seemed to have outgrown the space available at the Hangin’ Art Gallery.

“We just felt that we needed a little bit more room,” Crawford said.


Nuttiest: Katie Parson, Olympic Chocolate Mousse Pie

Fruitiest: Cherie Garcelon, Chocolate Raspberry Trifle

Creamiest:Katie Parson, Olympic Chocolate Mousse Pie

Most Chocolaty:Sara Bauer, Lemon Truffles & Chocolate Truffles

Most Decadent: Sara Bauer, Lemon Truffles & Chocolate Truffles

Low or Sugar Substitute (suitable for diabetic diets): Kim Folden & Kelley Brown, Chocolate Drizzled Meringue Kisses

Best Cookies/Bars/Brownies: Jennifer Knoetgen, Mexican Brownies

Best Cake/Torte/Trifle: Jackee Johnston, Kahlua Chocolate Cake

Best Cheesecake/Pie: Dale & Jack Duff, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Cheesecake with Truffle Sauce

Best Candy/Fudge: Sara Bauer, Lemon Truffles & Chocolate Truffles

Best "Other": Kim Folden & Kelley Brown, Chocolate Drizzled Meringue Kisses

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