[choco1] Imagine a room infused with the sweet aroma of chocolate. Tables set up with attractive chocolate candy, cakes, cookies, cheesecake, tortes and a variety of chocolate confections. In one area, a large crowd of people are gathered to dip pieces of fruit into a tall chocolate fondue fountain. At a table there are glasses of wine arranged in military-like formation. Throughout the center of the room, you see exquisite displays of chocolate sculptures and gourmet desserts created by chefs and culinary school students. You blink forcefully a couple times, and the lavish displays of chocolate are all still there – you’re not dreaming! A huge smile breaks out on your face instantly when you realize you can have as much of it as you want, as much as your stomach can contain.
No, this isn’t just a chocolate lover’s supreme fantasy, it’s the annual Chocolate Party Benefit to raise money for the care and preservation of the MSU Museum’s cultural and historical collections. The 16th annual event will take place at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, in the Big Ten rooms, on Feb. 27, from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.[chosb]
The party isn’t just about porking out on the most sumptuous chocolates you’ve ever laid your eyes on; it’s also an art competition for chefs and culinary school students. You’ll see beautiful creations of chocolate art and exquisitely decorated chocolate desserts designed to fit the museum’s competition theme: “Out of Africa.” The creations are judged for presentation, taste and technique by professional chefs from around the state. Toward the end of the chocolate party, these delectable creations are cut into servings for the public to sample. African artifacts from the MSU Museum will also be on exhibit at the party.
Grace Chee, a 2004 MSU graduate who attended the party in 2003 as a museum volunteer, said the party gave her a unique look at chocolate in all its forms. “It was really interesting to see something you take for granted like that,” Chee said. “It was really cool. I’ve never thought of chocolate that way.”
The benefit raises about $14,000 for the care and preservation of the museum’s one million artifacts, objects and specimens, Lora Helou, communications manager at the MSU Museum, said. “The party is both a fundraiser and a ‘friendraiser’ that we hope generates lifelong interest in the museum beyond chocolate,” Helou said.
Tickets to the chocolate party can be purchased online or at museum gift shop on West Circle Drive. General admission tickets are $30, and Premier Chocolatier tickets are $75. Purchase of Premier Chocolatier tickets includes early arrival to the party at 11:45 a.m. for a demonstration by chef Luis Amado, a one-year MSU Museum membership and a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s private collections on Sunday, March 13.
For information and ticket purchasing, visit the MSU Museum’s Chocolate Party Web site at www.museum.msu.edu/Events/ChocolateParty/. While you’re there, be sure to check out the chocolate party photos from 2003 and 2004, which are guaranteed to wet your appetite.
One piece of advice for first-timers: Don’t eat breakfast or lunch on the day of the chocolate party. Leave plenty of room for the chocolate!

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