10th Annual ‘Chocolate Romance’ is a Food Lover’s Affair

Do you desire a place to sample delectable food dished out by the best chefs in Tulare County? A place offering off-menu dishes all with a twist of your favorite flavor – chocolate?

Then you’ll love Chocolate Romance.

Sponsored by the Optimist Club of Exeter, the 10th annual Chocolate Romance brings the best chefs under one roof to compete for your vote and the title of Restaurateur and Chocolatier of the Year. Attendees will be treated to a gourmet grazing of entrees and desserts from six different styles of restaurants and caterers on Saturday, April 1. In addition to creating completely unique items not found on any menu, chefs are challenged with making both entrees and desserts with an element of chocolate or chocolate as the main ingredient.

A small panel of local celebrity judges will decide the Restaurateur and Chocolatier of the Year awards, given for the best judged entrée and best judged dessert, respectively. Everyone who buys a ticket to the event will receive a red and white ticket and have the opportunity to cast their votes for the People’s Choice Awards for both best entrée (red) and best dessert (white).

“This is not a couple’s-only event,” said Club President Reggie Ellis. “The name Chocolate Romance is referring to a food lover’s affair. This is the ultimate foodie experience as you won’t find these dishes on any menu in Tulare County.”

Proceeds from the event benefit scholarships for continuation high school students at Deep Creek Academy in Farmersville and Kaweah High School in Exeter. The scholarships are unique because they can be used at a variety of post-secondary education including community college courses, certification programs, beauty/barber schools, truck driving programs, tools for apprenticeships, etc.

“This event even helped inspire one of our scholarship recipients to attend culinary school in San Francisco,” Ellis said. “This event has helped concoct sweet dreams for many students who thought a career or even college was out of reach.”

The Optimist Club of Exeter was the first organization to offer scholarships to graduating seniors who had attended continuation high school or alternative education classes in high schools in Exeter and Farmersville. The motto of the Optimist Club is “Bringing Out the best in kids.” The Exeter club operates with the understanding there are no bad kids, only kids in bad situations. Many students attend continuation high school because they have fallen behind on units due to absence or sickness, some struggle with unstable family situations and some are even considered homeless.

“Over the past nine years, Optimist Club members have had the privilege of meeting countless students who have overcome broken home lives to graduate from high school,” Ellis said. “When you consider the obstacles in their way, just being at school is a reason to recognize these students.”

So make a sweet gesture by supporting these kids, and your foodie addictions all at the same time.
Chocolate Romance is held each spring from 5-8pm at the Exeter Memorial Building, 324 N. Kaweah Ave. in Exeter. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased from any Optimist Club of Exeter member. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (559) 909-2996 or (559) 592-5578.

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