A Chocolot of Fun: Chicagoans Observed World AIDS Day at Annual World of Chocolate Gala

Over 1,000 guests came together at Revel Fulton Market to celebrate the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s (AFC) World of Chocolate gala on Friday, Dec. 1. The evening raised over $100,000 to support the vital services AFC provides to thousands of Chicagoans each year, in addition to its work to make equity and justice a reality in Illinois and beyond through its care, policy, advocacy, prevention and education efforts.

“What a better way to celebrate the progress made toward getting to zero new HIV infections in Illinois than with gourmet chocolate on World AIDS Day!” said John Peller, AFC president/CEO. “That being said, the fight isn’t over. AFC’s advocates are proud to fight for health equity the other 364 days of the year and work with people across the state to shape our Getting to Zero campaign.”

At the 16th year of this event, guests sampled chocolate creations crafted by 19 area chocolatiers and confectioners, each ranging from sweet to savory to boozy. Five local celebrities, food writers and Chicago-area chefs judged the participating vendors in six categories; partygoers had their say, too, with the People’s Choice Award. Winners include:

People’s Choice: London House

Best Sweet: Cindy’s – Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Best Savory: London House

Best Sculpture: Sofitel

Best Libation: Freds at Barneys New York Chicago

Best Small Business: CH Distillery

Best Large Business: Radisson BLU

The judges’ panel included Andrea Alexander, Valerie Beck, Hank Mendheim, Veronica LePinske and Paul Lisnek.

Beyond chocolate, the evening featured a punchboard filled with donated prizes, a raffle with extravagant vacations, and energizing performances by Rob Racine’s Naughty Little Cabaret.

Funds raised through World of Chocolate support AFC’s work to mobilize communities to overcome health inequities and help people living with chronic illnesses like HIV thrive. Proceeds from the event will:

Fuel AFC’s policy and advocacy efforts to make health equity a priority among lawmakers in Springfield and Washington
Support efforts to providing housing support to 1,100 Chicagoans
Enable more than 5,000 clients to receive case management services
Build awareness about PrEP (a once-a-day pill that is up to 99% effective at protecting against HIV)

You can find a list of generous chocolatiers participating in World of Chocolate here.

You can find a list of sponsors here.