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Easter Seals set for its chocolate extravaganza

Local chef Jeffrey Gardner finishes the last bit of chocolate mousse in a edible chocolate bowl at the 2011 Easter Seals’ 18th annual Chocolate Classic. The food event, along with its silent auction, is the Albany Easter Seals’ largest fundraiser and provides funding for the group’s programs which help those with disabilities in a variety of areas. This year’s event is Thursday at the Merry Acres Convention Center.

Local chef Jeffrey Gardner finishes the last bit of chocolate mousse in a edible chocolate bowl at the 2011 Easter Seals’ 18th annual Chocolate Classic. The food event, along with its silent auction, is the Albany Easter Seals’ largest fundraiser and provides funding for the group’s programs which help those with disabilities in a variety of areas. This year’s event is Thursday at the Merry Acres Convention Center.

ALBANY, Ga. -- How sweet it is. At least it will be at the Easter Seals Southern Georgia 19th Annual Chocolate Classic this Thursday at the Merry Acres Convention Center.

The event, which will begin at 7 p.m., will feature chocolate creations by local chefs, representing several of the area's finest eating establishments and bakeries, said Rosalyn Kirk, Easter Seals development coordinator. According to Kirk, after an ample opportunity to view and taste the competitive chocolate, the 150 or more expected guests will vote on their favorites.

"We'll have winners in the three categories we've had for years," Kirk said, "plus, this year we have a new one called the Chef's Choice Award."

The other three categories are best of taste; best of show, which will be judged on its visual merits; and most original; given for the most unusual chocolate creation. Kirk said that "chocolate grits" was the winner in the most original category during a previous Chocolate Classic.

Local institutions scheduled to participate include Doublegate Country Club, Maggie Moo's, Swirl, Logan's Roadhouse, Richelle's Bakery and others. Elements Coffee Company and Still Pond Vineyard and Winery in Arlington will provide some of the beverages for the guests, Kirk said.

According to Kirk, in addition to awards for chocolate creations, there will be a silent auction, and entertainment will be provided by Susan Hardee, a local pianist performing both classical and contemporary styles.

Tickets for the event are $25 each and can be purchased either before or at the event, Kirk said. Proceeds benefit Easter Seals Southern Georgia Disability Services.

"Everything stays right here in the area to provide programs for children and adults with development disabilities," Kirk said. For more information, call (229) 439-7061.