Yes, the Chocolate Affair benefit for Health Care for the Homeless had something to do with my chocolate overload. I was a first-time judge at the 20th annual event last night that drew hundreds of people to sample chocolate and non-chocolate treats from more than 50 restaurants, shops, and caterers.
I’m still sorting through my chocolate memories, but one of my favorite entries was the chocolate-covered bacon on a stick from Gypsy Queen Cafe. I also liked the espresso-rubbed lamb chops from City Café. And I was really happy to have good-old-fashioned sushi with mango from RA Sushi to balance the mix.
I quickly learned to bite, savor, and move on to the next chocolate creation before it was time to gather with the other judges to tally our votes. I had the fun opportunity of sitting next to Charlie Crowson, a really nice guy and a new host on “Good Morning Maryland,” ABC2-News. He moved here from Arkansas and explained, “Arkansas isn’t what Baltimoreans think, and Baltimore isn’t what people in Arkansas think.” I was afraid to ask him what they think of us!
But chocolate was our mission this night. Here are this year’s winners:
Tastiest Chocolate Treat: tie, Maryland Club and Mr. Charles Market & Catering
Tastiest Non-Chocolate Treat: winner, House of Audré; honorable mention, Miguel’s Cocina Y Cantina
Best Candy Creation: winner, Mr. Charles Market; honorable mention, Pecan Yummies
Best Booth Display: winner, Chef’s Expressions, pictured; honorable mention, Cooking with Catherine
Best Visual Presentation of Food: winner, Intercontinental Harbor Court Hotel; honorable mention, RA Sushi
Most Creative Use of Chocolate: winner, B&O American Brasserie; honorable mention, Gypsy Queen Cafe
Best Beverage: winner, City Cafe; honorable mention, tie, Patron and Testimony Teas
Apprentice Award: winner, Clementine
Connoisseur Award: winner, Charles Levine Caterers
Photo of Chef Expression’s display by Dara Bunjon. Check out other Chocolate Affair photos on Dara’s “Dining Dish” blog.