The 15th annual Chocolate Classic took place at the Hotel Jerome on Thursday, Feb. 12. Staged in the ballroom, the popular benefit for RESPONSE featured all the chocolate you can eat from 6 to 9 p.m. Nearly 200 guests attended the affair, which was sponsored in part by the Elks Club, the Hotel Jerome, Lorrie B. Aspen Inc. and Joshua & Co.RESPONSE was founded in 1983 to provide assistance for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Classic is a major source of funding for RESPONSE through ticket sales, a silent auction and sponsorships.After a two-year hiatus from the venerable venue, the Classic returned this year to the Jerome. Were tickled to bring this event back to the ballroom, said Event Chair Lynn Dunlop.We are so happy to have our event here again, echoed Peg McGavock, executive director of RESPONSE. McGavock especially paid tribute to Jerome GM Tony DiLucia for his hand with the event. Tonys been so fantastic he and his staff always make everything so easy. We could not put this on without their hard work.For this years Classic, 35 desserts were entered in the professional category; amateurs donated 10; and another five were whipped up by kids.Prizes were awarded for an array of achievements, including Most Luscious, Most Irresistible and Most Festive as well as a Chocoholics Dream. As always, blind judging determined the awards for each entry. I find it interesting that this years First Overall prize went to a professional with second and third places awarded to amateurs, stated Shirley Ritter, the judge coordinator. Ritter recruited a panel of lucky taste-testers who distributed the honors after some serious sampling.The criteria for how we determined the overall winner were based on taste, presentation, festiveness, texture and flavor, explained judge Lisa Weiss.Hotel Jerome pastry chefs Michael Pearson and Lisa Jo Anderson collected a couple of prizes for their replica of Aspen Mountain in chocolate as well as for their Baileys, Kahlua, chocolate mudslide torte.Were proud for winning Most Impressive and Overall Best Sculpture, said Anderson.It was not just an adult evening. Plenty of little kids wandered around the room, tempted by the chocolate creations.I liked the ice-cream cones the best, said 9-year-old Alex Ferreira.No, the one with the gummy bears was the best, countered Dante Lizotte, age 8. After about an hour of consuming chocolate, the majority of the children in attendance sat Indian-style on the floor of the Antler Bar for a front row-view of Thelma & Louise, who performed with The Hitchhikers.I ate so much chocolate I dont think I need to have anymore ever, said Peter Sahula, who stationed himself in a chair in the ballroom after consuming too many confections. At least not until tomorrow.For more information about RESPONSE or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.responsehelps.org.To contact May to send info, insight or invites, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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