THREE RIVERS – World Fare hosted its “annual celebration of love and chocolate” on Saturday, Feb. 9 in downtown Three Rivers.
Three Rivers chocolate lovers were tasked with picking their favorite dish among six superb entries during A Chocolate Affair 2019 including Lorie Minor’s chocolate macarons, Becca Sonday and Vesta Thompson’s strawberry and chocolate sorbets, Cian Monroe’s pistachio slice cookies, Nate and Alexandra Harper-Brees’ cherry-chocolate English pudding and Allie Yost’s chocolate and chocolate coffee macarons.
Minor, who has participated in the Chocolate Affair in each of the last seven years, took home the people’s choice award, receiving 142 votes for her chocolate macarons, while Yost placed second with 101 votes, and Monroe took third place with 89 votes.
As far as the Chocolate Affair’s other two categories, Judges Bryan VanToll, Janell Hart, and Gene VanDeraa unanimously selected Yost’s chocolate and chocolate coffee macarons for best presentation, and Sonday and Thompson’s strawberry and chocolate sorbets as the most original entry in this year’s competition.
VanToll, who also moonlights as the band director at Three Rivers High School, said this year’s competition was his first, both as a judge and an attendee, but it surely won’t be his last.
“It was (a wonderful experience). The food was delicious; there were lots of really awesome kids and some really awesome families that put together really creative chocolate confections. I definitely have a sugar rush but it was a lot of fun,” VanToll said.
Monroe, who at the age of 11 has already participated in four Chocolate Affairs, said his pistachio slice cookies rank among the best baked goods he’s ever made.
“The pistachio and chocolate combination I feel like is really good because it’s kind of sweet and savory,” Monroe said.
Monroe added that he keeps coming back to the Chocolate Affair year after year for the love of the game, and to you know, win.
“I enjoy baking and this is a fun competition, chocolate is delicious, and World Fare is a good neighbor to support. Vote for Cian,” Monroe said with a smile.
Approximately 150 people attended Saturday’s event and 513 tickets were sold for the competition’s people’s choice award vote. Event organizers Jean Thompson and Deborah Haak said attendance for A Chocolate Affair 2019 was on par with previous years, which is a testament to the community’s commitment to fair trade and local business.
“It brings attention to fair trade products in a really fun way. You can be competitive but also have a lot of fun and eat delicious chocolate while getting together with friends in the cold winter months and raising money for a good cause,” Haak said.
Thompson said A Chocolate Affair has seemingly become a staple among the Three Rivers community.
“Every year, the week before Valentine’s Day, you know there’s going to be A Chocolate Affair. No ifs, ands, or buts, Chocolate Affair at World Fare,” Thompson said.
“It’s a time for people to come and socialize, if you haven’t seen people around town you’re like ‘Oh, I haven’t seen you in forever!” So a lot of the patronage is people in town, and there are also a lot of people who come from out of town, we have a couple participants that are from out of town. […] It kind of has a name now, and I think we’ll be able to build upon that (in the future).”
Thompson and Haak thanked all who participated in this year’s event, the judges, and most of all the volunteers who helped make the event possible.
“We want to thank all of the judges for coming out, the volunteer support, and the community for coming out,” Thompson said. “We want people to come (to World Fare) and hang out, and spread that community love.
Alek Frost can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or firstname.lastname@example.org.