Would you like to immerse yourself in the world of chocolate? Do you love chocolate confections and desserts. Do you like a little piece of chocolate with your coffee or wine? Do you find creative ways to add chocolate to your savoury dishes? If you said yes to any of these questions, you are a chocolate lover and I have great news for you.
From the Chocolate Ball on October 16, 2014, to chocolate tours, to chocolate high tea, if you are a chocoholic, October should be your favourite month. Running until November 2nd, there are tons of chocolate events throughout the month to keep your cravings curbed.
I was invited to the 9th annual Chocolate Ball: A Salute To Movies, Music and Dance of the Tropics at the Eglinton Grand and I was so excited! How excited? Doing the choco choco latte dance kind of excited.Why?Because the Chocolate Ball is one of Toronto’s most anticipated annual events powered by everything chocolate, featuring a wide array of chocolate delectables to feed all your senses, from hors d’oeuvres to desserts, all for great causes.*
I was so psyched up for the chocolate wonderland I was about to experience, but I was also a little worried about what to wear. I don’t have any fancy dresses to wear to a ball. I hoped my Gypsy Circus dress by Sandra Iannuccilli with its chocolate tones and unique flair would be appropriate for the Ball. Dabbing on some Blu Notte perfume with its chocolate undertones seemed like a perfect final touch. I must say the crowd was very well dressed, but I think I fit in.
From the moment I walked through the doors and was greeted by beautiful girls in costumes, every moment of this evening of decadence and chocolate fantasy was perfect.
In the lobby were several Miss Teen Canada’s greeting patrons and escorting them to their tables.
Moving up to the second level, I explored the chocolate stations, wondering if I should be cautious about sampling too much chocolate before a chocolate-laden dinner. I was here to have a chocolate fantasy evening of a lifetime, so I sampled to my heart’s content. The stations included ChocoStyle, CocoaWorld Chocolatier, Golden Apple Confections, M Thompson Chocolates and Old Time Confections. I also tried raw, edible, organic and vegan body lotion by Giddy Yo Yo, which felt so good on the skin and smelled so chocolatey good! Oh, I was ready for food now.
The hall was filled with such a great variety of sweet and savoury chocolate offerings; so much to be discovered and experienced. I needed something savoury first, for my belly’s sake, even though my mind was on dessert already.
My eyes popped when I saw Crêpes à GoGo. I’ve enjoyed the Yorkville crêperie, but haven’t been there in a while. I was excited to have my fill of crepes tonight. I thought they might be making chocolate-filled crepes. but was delighted to find out it would be a mozzarella and cheese filled crepe – satisfying my savoury and sweet craving at the same time. An excellent dish! Since I am taking French classes, I loved being able to practice my new French speaking skills with Véronique Perez, the owner. She is so charming and kind.
The Israeli Couscous prepared by Russell Auckbaraullee has 20 ingredients. I watched him lay out the couscous in boat-shaped dishes and top each with a chocolate balsamic reduction and avocado cilantro sauce verde. The 20 ingredients made for an alluring play on the palate.
Personal Chef Solutions made Cocoa and Cumin Scented Pulled Pork Tacos on Corn Tortillas with Charred Corn and Avocado Salsa, Chipotle Crème, and a Habanero Hot Sauce, which was declared delicious by my table companions. I did not try any of the non-vegetarian dishes.
Earls Kitchen offered Chocolate ribs and Chocolate Hazelnut Bars at the Chocolate Ball. The Chocolate Hazelnut Bar is a delightful mix of textures with rich chocolate and crispy hazelnut wafer. It would be very wrong if I were to never have this dessert again so I made my inquiries and I’m happy to share with you that Earls offers this at their King Street restaurant. I can breathe easy again!
Jamocha Almond Fudge is a delicious combination of chocolate cake, mocha mousse, almond meringue and chocolate fudge skillfully layered together. Expertly finished with chocolate glaze and toasted almonds.
Taking (almost) equal billing that evening is the entertainment including guest DeeJay, performers and the fabulous floor shows.
All eyes were on these charming, young dancers who danced marvelously. Much better than I ever can. Plus they are the cutest!
The BASo Alto Ladies put on a glamorous floor show and then drew audience members onto the floor to show them how to do some moves. They rocked the chocolate bar!
The DJ took over between floor shows getting the audience on the dance floor, encouraging us to have fun and burn off the calories. Hey, why not? I could use a little more chocolate.
Meanwhile while all this is taking place, there was a stellar silent auction and many prize giveaways…
…plus a fantastic caricaturist who added a touch of whimsy to the night.
I am so fortunate to meet Elizabeth Rizzuti, Operations and Media Director of the Chocolate Ball. She is a great lover of chocolate and wants to bring happiness and chocolate to people. The Chocolate Ball has a different theme every year making the planning process exciting and varied for her. People enjoy attending every year just to see what is new. She truly enjoys meeting new people every year.
It is a lot of work to put this all together so I asked Elizabeth what motivates her aside from the great food.
“Being in the restaurant, media, film and entertainment industry for years, what really motivates me is people,” said Rizzuti. “I love working with a great team of people who take their own time to volunteer for the cause. My pleasure comes from making people happy, smile, have fun and leave their worries behind if they had a stressful day at work, school or whatever is on their mind. You don’t have to go on a holiday to have a great experience. You can indulge with amazing food, desserts, wine, chocolate and entertainment at our Chocolate Ball and also our Chocolate Show on November 2, 2014 at Roy Thomson Hall.”
The Chocolate Ball is an unforgettable night. I left with a taste of chocolate lingering on the palate. My chocolate cravings were satisfied, at least until tomorrow.
I’m really looking forward to the Toronto Chocolate Show on November 2.* See you there!
*A portion of the proceeds from select Toronto Chocolate Festival Events are donated to the Prostate & Breast Cancer Initiatives Fund.