Posted by StreetWise in Magazine Articles
A whole new world, for chocolate and the HIV epidemic
World AIDS Day is but one day a year — Dec. 1 — and, each year, it brings to light the real-life experience that 43,000 people living with HIV and AIDS in Illinois face each day.
AFC’s annual holiday gala and World AIDS Day event, World of Chocolate, offers a sweet (and savory) opportunity to raise funding and awareness for the epidemic while offering 1,500 guests the chance to taste an array of chocolate creations from some of Chicago’s top chocolatiers. The event will take place at Chicago’s Union Station on Thursday, Dec. 4 from 6-9:30 p.m.
“It’s another way for us to put HIV on the map for World AIDS Day, while creating a destination event that provides Chicago’s leading HIV/AIDS allies, advocates and supporters a bit of fun and festivities,” said John Peller, president/CEO of AFC.
At the heart of the event: chocolate
This legacy event has become known as the premiere opportunity to try chocolate creations like truffles, cakes and even chocolate grilled cheese sandwiches while basking in the cavernous glory of one of Chicago’s most acclaimed architectural gems, Union Station.
This year, 25 chocolatiers from around Chicago will compete for prizes and the admiration of guests, who vote for the People’s Choice winner. Among them are Chocolat Uzma Sharif, whose namesake third-generation pastry chef has made waves in Pilsen’s emerging culinary scene, and Uptown Brownie, which makes small-batch, big-flavor brownies like the Elvis Crunch, a brownie with peanut butter, marshmallows, candied bacon, and crushed banana chips. Several A-list hotel pastry chefs, restaurants, culinary schools and confectioners round out the list. Guest judges from Chicago’s food scene will award prizes to top chocolatiers at the event.
“We’re very excited to see what our culinarians bring to the table this year,” said Rhett Lindsay, director of special events for AFC. “World of Chocolate provides a great stage for some creative approaches to chocolate, and our chocolatiers tend to bring some wild displays and wilder creations.”
No fundraising event is complete without a raffle and AFC’s signature punch board, both of which offer guests the chance to win prizes including luxury vacations, spa packages, restaurants, performances and more.
An open bar for guests, music by DJ Moose and reminders of the impact World of Chocolate will have on AFC’s work to support people living with HIV in Illinois round out the evening.
Not just a party — a party with purpose
AFC hopes to raise well over $100,000 at the event, which will provide ongoing support for its advocacy, housing, case management and prevention programs. The organization is the Chicago metropolitan area’s leader in the fight to end stigma, support those living with the HIV and prevent new infections.
“We’re at a unique point in our 30-year history, thanks to the unprecedented access to care the Affordable Care Act provides, as well as the groundbreaking HIV prevention and care medications we now have,” said Peller. “Events like World of Chocolate help AFC spread the word — that we can significantly reduce new HIV infections with the right amount of financial, governmental and community support.”
AFC annually provides over 1,000 people in the region with supportive housing and 5,500 people with case management support. Its HIV testing initiatives allow more than 8,000 Chicagoans to receive free testing and linkage to care if they test positive.
Tickets range in price from $125 to $2,500 (the latter entitles attendees to VIP access) and are available at aidschicago.org/chocolate and at the door.