Several years ago, your Chocolate Priestess remembers a fairly small, maybe 250-300 people, event in downtown Bloomington, Indiana, that used chocolate to raise money for a local charity. I remember it in part because a friend entered a pie she'd made in the contest and she won third place in that category. I also remember tasting dozens of homemade treats from other entrants. Over the years, this evening event has turned into a "Week of Chocolate" here in B-town and that original festive atmosphere grew from a few hundred to thousands trying to sample both homemade and professional treats.
This year there is also a "Week of Chocolate" and the link will provide you with some of the information. My attempts to volunteer to help resulted in only one invitation to a meeting I couldn't schedule into my life and no other information. I have to say that while there is much going on, overall I'm disappointed by the week this year.
First, the entire original sampling evening is gone from the schedule of events. I understand that numbers may have made it overwhelming but you can curb that by having only a certain number of tickets. At $15-20 each, those tickets were a good investment in a few hours of fun, music and chocolate. It also allowed both the professional and the everyday chocolatier to compete in several categories including both kids and adults, thereby making the event really a community experience.
Second, while the events being spread out, one at least each evening, I don't like that different charities are benefiting it seems. I have to wonder how this all came about. Yes, many charities need help but does the Red Cross have enough events? Why not stay focused on one group, the group which started this? I have to further wonder if spreading it out is leading to a higher level of disorganization because inquiries about the event and attempts to volunteer are haphazard at best. Each group beyond the weblink seems responsible for promoting itself making this less a "Week of Chocolate" and more a "week of chocolate" if you get my meaning.
Finally some of the events are very reasonably price but others, such as "The Art of Chocolate" is outrageously priced at $45 a person -- I love the IU Museum, this is not an attack on them. Even the Tudor Room "5 Acts" of chocolate and music, "Ebony and Ivory" is $45 per couple! Some one might chose to go to a different event or two if they can't afford these two big events but again this means there is no single event that defines and highlights the week that is affordable to most folks in town. If we want to pull together as a community, shouldn't we have an event that is more affordable to more people as the highlight of the week? I'm not even clear which event now qualifies for that position even though "The Art of Chocolate" is highlighted on the main page.
Since I feel it is important to use the Sacred Substance for good reasons, I will find one or two events to go to during "The Week of Chocolate" but I fear I may feel less a part of a community this year than in past years because of the pricing and charity spread. I'll report in February how things went. The Week starts January 30 and runs through February 6, 2010.