The Sweet Taste of Competition: 30 Creative Cuisine Creators Chase Chocolates Galore Awards

Tickets are on sale for Loudoun’s wintertime sweet treat. In its 31st year, Chocolates Galore and More is not just one of the county’s leading social events or the YMCA Loudoun County’s major fundraiser.

For the participants, it’s a serious competition.

Three decades ago, YMCA leaders got the bold idea to partner with area restaurants and chefs for the event what would showcase their culinary talents to the community during a night of music, dance, free-flowing champagne and lots and lots of cholate.

The success of that fist event has endured. This year’s event will be held Feb. 23 at Lansdowne Resort and Spa.

The signature portion of the evening is the Best Taste and Best Presentation competition that allows Loudoun’s most creative chefs stretch their imaginations in the desserts and hors d’oeurves categories. Dishes are evaluated by five professional food critics and as well as the gala attendees. The favorites are presented the coveted Critic’s Choice and People’s Choice awards.

This year, 30 restaurants have signed up, include a dozen first-time competitors.

Event veterans are: Eddie Merlot’s, The Zone, Eggspectation Leesburg, Coton and Rye, Lansdowne Weddings, Sweetz Bakery, Chantels Bakery, Smokehouse Live, Buffalo Wing Factory, YummyPig, Matchbox, Dog Money Restaurant & Brewery, Shoes Cup and Cork, Lady K’s Catering, Travinia Italian Kitchen, DC Prime, The Wine Kitchen, and J.R.’s Custom Catering & Events.

New presenters for 2018 are: 5 Tara, Solo NY Pizza, Jasmine Cuisine, Veritas Artizen Chocolate, The Conche, Delirium Café, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Velocity Wings-South Riding, Social House Kitchen & Tap, Baker’s Crust Artisan Kitchen, Petite Loulou Creperie + Bar à Vins, and Sweet Pearlz Cheesecakes.

Nineteen have entered the hors d’oeuvres completion and 16 are in the sweets category.

This year’s professional judging team is:

Chef James Parker, director of The Food Artist Group; Johnna French, food blogger/writer for Johnna Knows Good Food; Chef Jason Reaves, executive pastry chef at Salamander Resort & Spa; Chef Erik Shane Foxx, head chef at Magnolias at the Mill Restaurant; and Chef and consultant Ruslan Mehic.

Proceeds from the event are used to support the YMCA’s year-round schedule of activities.

Advance tickets are on sale for $50. The price increases to $60 on Feb. 5. If available, tickets will be $75 at the door on the night of the event.

Also, event planners have a few opportunities remaining for table sponsorships.

Learn more and purchase tickets at

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