Good day, Louisville. I am currently recovering from one magnificent chocolate coma, courtesy of GuardiaCare Services’ Chocolate Dreams 2014 event. If you were not at Louisville Marriott East yesterday, please allow me to take you on a virtual Wonka-tastic tour so you can relish chocolates galore.
"Chocolate Dreams: An Evening of Decadent Bliss"- accurately named!
Louisville Marriott East served as a terrific venue. Spacious, inviting, and just the right touch of elegance for some refined foodie enchantment.
We tried not to fill up too much on the appetizers to save room for the real deal. But we did like the non-chocolate beginning of salty hor d'oeuvres! It was a balanced introduction before the massive consumption of celestial sugar.
Morgan showcasing the hor d'oeuvres as well as the 2014 addition of the Kentucky Distillers' Association. We vote this was a positive development indeed!
We tried to pace ourselves, so definitely only nibbled on the pre-chocolate bites. It takes true strategy to prepare to eat your weight in chocolate!
They had the potential giveaways/auction items in front. I appreciate all the variety that made up this event.
I was fortunate to be able to take my good friend Morgan with me. In my personal opinion, dessert is best when the saccharine experience is shared. We did not eat dinner in intense preparation for maximum delight. (Success achieved.) Congratulations to GuardiaCare Services, for both Morgan and I agreed that this was one of the most fun events we have ever had the joy to attend. If you missed out on this chocoholic affair, please make sure to catch Chocolate Dreams 2015!
Before even diving into the cascade of chocolate reverie-turned-reality, you were greeted with TapSnap 1086 Phototainment. Brilliant? Quite possibly. Everyone animatedly lined up to be able to capture the unforgettable memories, where you could even alter your photo to contain depictions of whatever desserts or accessories you desired. (And also have that said photo instantaneously uploaded onto the social media interwebs.) Years from now, I will look back on that wonderful night and always be able to have these tangible mementos. It was such a nice personalized detail. The interactive photo booth kicked off Chocolate Dreams in the most entertaining style.
After the fun TapSnap extra technology. They were appreciative that we broke the serious photo streak with our goofiness. Silly photos are always happy!
Amore di Mona's Caramela with a welcome coffee bean crunch. For all the diabetics, vegans, and those allergic to gluten, this would be a friendly (while simultaneously awesome) chocolate choice!
You might be surprised to know that some of the most scrumptious selections were produced by hospitals. That is what makes GuardiaCare's annual Chocolate Dreams event stand out. It makes you redefine the way you think about hospitals. Before this event, I never would have paired the mental image of a hospital with decadent chocolate. But this chocolate gala special represents far more than scrumptious treats divinely prepared. GuardiaCare wants you to think about the elderly in a new light, with humanity and intelligence. And what better way to capture the public's attention than through culinary feats?
Wellstone Regional Hospital offered one of the stand-outs: Chocolate persimmon bread pudding with a caramel chocolate rum sauce. Goodness, did we devour this one!
Kayrouz Cafe were competing for savory with their unique take on the Kentucky classic: Hot Brown.
Smothered in mornay sauce and Vermont cheddar cheese. Topped off with two slices of bacon, tomatoes, and a dash of paprika. I am particular about cheeses, so this one was a little cheesy for me, but I loved the bacon. Morgan was a total fan!
The Episcopal Church Home went all out with this cool chocolate sculpture.
They served Salted Caramel Brownie with Caramel Pot de Creme. It was an intriguing combination of flavors, but this one was a little heavy for our liking. Still worth trying though! It was a foodie experience.
There was a significant turnout, which was pretty impressive on GuardiaCare's part. They generated a lot of promotion and have seen this event grow from humble beginnings when it first came to existence nine years ago.
Vincenzo's was a highlight for sure.
Vincenzo's specially made this sensational chocolate sponge cake that floated on your taste buds.
Brownsboro Park Retirement Community created a chocolate bourbon cheesecake with imported Belgian chocolate, Kentucky's Four Rose's Bourbon topped with a warm bourbon glaze. And Morgan and I liked the horse sculpture as well, which is classic Kentucky!
Morgan tried this one from Coach Lamp Restaurant since I am not into spicy food. She thought it was unique, but wouldn't order it on her own outside of the event. Part of the thrill of Chocolate Dreams was being adventurous with trying food samples!
We LOVED the Seelbach Hilton- The Oak Room! Superior decorations and most gorgeous presentation of chocolate. I really want to go to this place and try their other options after this event!
The Seelbach Bourbon Bee- complete with bourbon honey ganache and caramel. Can you spot the little chocolate bumblebees?
When we reached the Cake Flour booth, both Morgan and I exclaimed, "This is our favorite so far!" The flavors must have been performing acrobatics, because the taste experience was sensationally delicious.
Cafe con Leche Mousse. I will be dreaming of this!
Cake Flour's brownie take on the traditional chocolate bourbon ball.
*Loved* Ghyslain's Banana's Foster Chocolate Cup. The chocolate cup exterior was a little too hard for Morgan's taste, but I am all about crunch when it comes to chocolate! A definite delight.
The chocolate embellishments added some chic Ghyslain pizzazz.
Let me introduce you to my favorite bakery cupcake. And you should know I normally avidly dislike cupcakes. Copper Cupcake's desserts like the Chocolate Salted Caramel cupcakes they sampled forth at Chocolate Dreams are so ridiculously good that my normal cupcake aversion factor is a moot point. I must go back there and try more cupcakes to discover what other flavors I might also discover I now crave.
"These are the kinds of cupcakes my grandmother would make." "You all are doing something right!" I told her. Authentic, high-quality ingredients make all the difference.
Even though I do not like spicy food and am not normally a pork person, I must admit that these sandwiches from Buck's Restaurant were surprisingly excellent. We were trying to pace ourselves, but we definitely could not stop after just one bite of the sandwich! This was potentially Morgan's favorite of the evening. It was also an ideal switch to more salty/savory territory after indulging in what felt like an entire continent of chocolate.
Even Buck's straight-up sweet offering was amazing. Add coconut and almond to chocolate dreams, and that's what this cookie is! Buck's basically had it going on.
We set up camp to sit down to truly appreciate the sandwiches. Also, the wine was high-quality. My Chardonnay had a vivacious tang that I immensely enjoyed.
Cellar Door Chocolates created a chocolate entry with sweet pangs of marshmallow.
Of course I had to save room for my perpetual Louisville dessert fave The Comfy Cow!! They had Chocopalooza flavors too, which needless to say, rendered me one happy camper. Glad that they won the Brain Freeze Award!
Two thumbs up for the cute Parisian umbrella with festive lights.
Chocolate Lavender with White Chocolate Macadamia in the middle. True ice cream adoration!
If you have not tried lavender as a flavor, you are missing out on some of the finer things of life.
Chocolate Bar won People's Choice Award! And rightfully so. Best execution of Chocolate Savory.
Art Eatables: Cask aged Manhattan mousse with a sweet Vermouth cream and fresh lemon zest.
Art Eatables had a chocolate and alcohol concoction that was strong for me, but Morgan was keenly enthusiastic about this one. Just goes to show you how tastes can differ from on person to the next. I was also told that after this mixture sat for a few hours, the alcohol content got more potent. The chocolate was satisfyingly rich, which was the greatest part for me.
Eiderdown had a rare combination of Pepsi paired with chocolate and ice cream that totally worked. It was a thoughtful blend.
Chocolate Dreams was a special event and I am so glad Morgan and I were able to partake in our gloriously foodie city. All of Louisville's top-notch restaurants and unlikely cuisine victors (like community hospitals) all united in support of GuardiaCare Service's noble purposes in aiding the elderly through the struggles of disability and aging. All the trips auctioned off did not only grant contentment to the 'winners,' but also to all the elderly in need of our compassionate assistance. I hope to go back to next year's event! Chocolate endeavors are the loveliest kind.