If the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was based around a fundraiser instead of a factory tour, it would sure resemble the event, For the Love of Chocolate!

On Saturday, February 28th,The French Pastry School ran its annual fundraising Gala to raise scholarships for qualifying students.  This year the event raised a remarkable $175 000, assisting several aspiring pastry school students to achieve their dreams.

For the Love of Chocolate (FLOC) is one of Chicago’s most highly anticipated events of the year. Every detail is thoroughly thought out and true to theme, a mash-up of Mad Men refinement, British Mod rocker rowdiness and Glam Diva.

Spread throughout the venue Union League Club of Chicago, this dress-to-impress soiree was filled with decadent truffles, creamy puddings and panna cottas, beautifully decorated cookies and every flavor of cake imaginable.  

And before indulging in desserts spread over 6 floors, attendees were treated to a sensational savory spread featuring some of Chicago’s best restaurants and chefs.

New to the scene was Fulton Fish Market, America’s largest and most established seafood market. Based out of the Bronx, New York, this prized establishment is finally extended its offerings to the rest of U.S.. Now delivering to restaurants throughout the Midwest, the market will soon be launching a consumer-based platform, where customers can have access to their unbeatable seafood selection as well. FLOC attendees had the opportunity to sample fresh oyster shooters and citrus-cured Faroe Island salmon prepared by Chefs from the American Culinary Federation.

There was, of course, no need to be told to save room for dessert at this event. In fact, savory fare was barely even an appetizer to the main meals, i.e. dessert.

Some of the most memorable bites came from Homestead on the Roof, Veruca Chocolates, Vanille Patisserie, Rarebird Preserves and The Clare, all of which stepped outside the vanilla and chocolate flavor boxes to introduce both visually appealing and sensorial stimulating desserts. All of which were perfectly paired with Crafthouse Cocktail’s Moscow Mule.

One floor was even dedicated entirely to specialty cakes and champagne. There, guests were provided with generous pours of bubbly, circling entertainment, and the most unconventional yet brilliant, human napkin dispenser.

And just like Willy Wonka’s operation, the FLOC event was filled with colorful characters, catchy tunes and a slew of hypnotizing lights and decorations. Thankfully, the only side effects here were a few sugar rushes which undoubtedly made the late night, dance floor that much more entertaining.

Natalie Shmulik is a passionate food enthusiast with an M.L.A. in Gastronomy from Boston University. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Natalie has played a valuable role in branding and marketing food businesses in the foodservice and supermarket sector. She currently works as a consultant for Now We're Cookin's Food Business Incubator.