When Cori Sue and I walked into the National Building Museum, we could smell the sweetness. Chocolate. Pure, rich, decadent chocolate—in all different forms—was waiting right behind the check-in desk. Hurry, hurry, I thought. My sweet-tooth is calling.
It was our first time actually attending the annual Charity in Chocolate fashion show, which benefits the Heart of America Foundation. And what a shame—we should come to this every year! That night, the organization was celebrating 15 great years and its success in revitalizing more than 200 impoverished school libraries and providing children in need with nearly 2 million books.
When we arrived, we scoped it out. Two huge bars—one at the end of the enormous room and one in the center—had tuxedo’ed bartenders at the ready. The perimeter was lined with tables of restaurants, their pastry chefs offering up the most creative of their sweet treats.
Nearly 40 restaurants were participating, and we got to try everything, from the macaroons by Adour at the St. Regis to the passionfruit mousse by Chima Brazilian Steakhouse. There was even carrot cake with walnut brittle from BLT Steak. But, I’ll never forget the beautiful mint buttercream biscuits with luminous blue filling from Blue Duck Tavern.
Policy was there, too, as pastry chef Deth Khaiaphone had created gorgeous flourless chickpea chocolate tarts. Each had a sugar flower on the top that was so perfect it was a shame to eat it.
But it wasn’t all dessert. Some restaurants were doling out hors d’oeuvres. The Mayflower stuck with the chocolate theme and created bitter chocolate pasta (served with lobster no less), which, surprisingly, was not gross. There were chilled tomato shooters with avocado cream and crab toast from the Ritz-Carlton. There were also gorgeous shrimp boats from the Mandarin Oriental.
After filling ourselves with amazing pastries, desserts, and chocolate treats, we made our way to the VIP Lounge, where we snagged seats to enjoy the fashion show. Leon Harris and Natasha Barrett from ABC7 were funny, fabulous hosts, bantering back and forth and drumming up pledges from the audience.
The most touching moment of the program came when CharityWorks’ Leah Gansler was awarded the National Hero of the Heart Award. Her moving acceptance speech made us all pause and appreciate the hard work and good that charities in the D.C. area do.
And then, it was onto the fashion show! This year it was themed children’s classics, and so we had everyone from Charlie (from the Chocolate Factory) to Thing 1 and Thing 2 bopping down the runway.
Little Bo Peep had a dress made of macaroons—and a dog trailing behind, eating what fell off. Our favorite model, Lindsey Becker, was Alice in Wonderland. The winner of the show was the Queen of Hearts, created by Shaun McCarty, the pastry sous chef at the Reagan International Trade Center.