Last year, for the second year in a row, the annual YMCA Loudoun County’s fundraiser, Chocolates Galore & More, sold out. And, yes, we said fundraiser. At around 1,000 attendees, they just couldn’t fit any more people into Lansdowne Resort and Spa’s grand ballroom.
Once you’ve attended, it’s easy to see why the party is such a draw, apart from the great benefit the community derives from donations. Funding ensures that the YMCA’s pre-school, after-school and summer camp programs are accessible to all Loudoun residents, regardless of their ability to pay. Kasia Bochenek, YMCA Loudoun’s business director says, “What I love about this event is to see our community coming together as a united force. Big businesses, small businesses and individuals pull together and generously donate to this event and the YMCA cause. Our joint power becomes unlimited!”
The food is great too. Thirty of the area’s top chefs and confectioners compete to out-do each other for year-long bragging rights as creator of the best savory or sweet Hors d’oeuvres or Dessert. Though all the food is donated, leading restaurants and catering companies generously bring significant portions of everything from marzipan to filet mignon to win votes from patrons and judges. With more than four hours to complete the circuit of treats, and plenty of champagne to wash it down, it’s an epic indulgence.
This year’s entrants will be judged on best taste and presentation in either sweet or savory categories by Marcus Repp, executive chef of Lansdowne; Jason Reaves, executive pastry chef at Salamander Resort & Spa; Erik Foxx-Nettnin, head chef of Magnolias at the Mill and Daniela Williams, Lead Chef and owner of Cucinamore.