TAHOE/TRUCKEE - Imagine an evening filled with decadent chocolate paired with boutique wines and guests adorned in tropical dresses and linen suits, mingling among fellow community members who are all raising money for two great causes. Tahoe SAFE Alliance and Project MANA bring this imagery to life on Nov. 3 at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe for the Chocolate, Wine & Roses Festival. This year's theme: "One Night in Havana, Paradise Under the Stars" will feature themed cabanas, costumed guests, photo opportunities ... and of course chocolate. A lot of chocolate. The signature sponsor is Dress The Part(y), a costume and party superstore based in Incline Village, Nev. For more information visit www.dressthepart.org.The stars of this enchanted evening are none other than the chocolatiers. These chocolate connoisseurs represent the community's most prestigious pastry chefs. These chefs will compete for five awards including most decadent, most original taste, most creative use of ingredient, best tabletop presentation and the coveted people's choice.Featured chocolatiersBig Water Grille: Participating for the sixth year, Pastry Chef Christy Cheney will prepare Cuban Espresso Chocolate Decadence. Last year, Christy and Big Water won the award for most original taste.Dorinda's Chocolate Caf: Participating for a third year, Dorinda will release the "Kraken" upon Havana, in addition to serving the 2011 People's Choice award winning Pumpkin Truffle. For the Havana hot and spicy lovers, she will bring a taste of Tiene, a nice blend of cinnamon and hot chili. In 2010, Dorinda's won the award for most original taste.Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe: Participating for a third year, Executive Pastry Chef Guido Landolt is going all out and preparing four desserts to the delight of guests. They include a white chocolate wafer, a lime coconut truffle with dark Maracaibo chocolate, mini chocolate macaroons with milk chocolate cremeux, and a Maracaibo intenso with dried strawberries and pink peppercorns. In 2011, Guido and Hyatt Regency won the award for most decadent.Jake's on the Lake: Participating for the sixth year, Executive Chef Scott Yorkie will prepare caramelized plaintains and dulce de leche between two Tres Leche rum cookies all covered in chocolate.Mr. Z's Homemade Candies: Aaron Zendner reigns supreme having won eight awards including People's Choice each competing year. Last year, Mr. Z's received the first ever Platinum Award and was inducted into the "Chocolatier Hall of Fame." While he will be serving his homemade confections to the delight of guests, he will not compete as the festival; instead he will serve as judge to his peers.North Tahoe Catering: Participating for the first time as North Tahoe Catering, Executive Chef Chris Banovich last competed at the festival in 2004. He will prepare Guajillo chile and chocolate parfait with dark rum soaked cherries.Sunnyside Resort: Participating for a second year, Executive Chef Lee Kresy is bucking the traditional dessert trend by serving smoked duck breast in a chocolate mole sauce. In 2011, Lee and Sunnyside won the award for most creative use of ingredient.The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe: They will compete for a third year, but it will be a first for Chef Maarten Vankruyssen. He will prepare a white chocolate and caramelized banana mousse Beggar's Purse.The talented chefs at each restaurant share a passion for chocolate and for supporting Tahoe SAFE Alliance and Project MANA. Scott Yorkey, Executive Chef at Jake's on the Lake summed it up: "We are honored to help with these special events that raise funds for such great organizations. We are delighted to be connected with the community outside of the restaurant. We think it is tremendous what Project MANA and Tahoe SAFE Alliance have to offer to our community, so we are thrilled to support the Chocolate, Wine & Roses Festival."Aaron Zendner, owner of Mr. Z's Homemade Candies adds: "It feels great to get our whole family involved in the fundraising experience as we love to help support people in need."This year the festival will feature boutique wines from 14 wineries hand selected to pair well with decadent chocolate, including:Boisset Wine Living, Hahn Family Wines, Hawley Winery, Helwig Vineyard & Winery, Korbel, Lucchessi Vineyards & Winery, People's Wine Revolution, Perry Creek Winery, Rodney Strong Wine Estates, Roots Run Deep/Educated Guess, Southern Wine & Spirits, Truckee River Winery, William Grant & Sons, and Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards.But wait, there's moreTahoe SAFE Alliance is a local nonprofit agency that supports victims of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. Project MANA is the local hunger relief agency. Together they are proud to present this 24th annual fundraiser. The Lake Tahoe community relies on these organizations when adversity strikes or when they can no longer afford to buy healthy, nutritious food. Fundraising is pivotal in keeping the programs robust, especially as the holidays approach.In addition to the palate pleasing and entertainment, the fun continues with a silent and live auction. You could win a comprehensive skin rejuvenation or medical treatment from Tahoe Medical Spa, a three-night getaway to Morro Bay, or a five-night wine adventure in Paso Robles to name a few. You will also have an opportunity to win a "wine wheelbarrow" through an exclusive wine raffle. Furthermore, there is a unique funding opportunity through The Munson Family Foundation. This family has been generous enough to offer a challenge matching grant where they will match up to $20,000 in community donations. Just think what this money can do to serve those in our community in need of protection and food. You will have a chance to donate to the match at the festival or you can donate online at www.tahoesafealliance.org.For tickets and more information visit www.tahoechocolatefestival.org or call 775-298-0010.The sponsorsDress the Part(y), North Tahoe Bonanza, Sierra Sun, The Weekly, Clear Capital, Linda Brinkley and Ronald Randolph-Wall, Barbara Cox, Eric and Shana Wapstra Scott, LilliAtilt Designs, Korbel, Wells Fargo, Chambers Landing Bar & Restaurant, Dr. Jonathan Smith, Dr. Karen Kucharski, Mountain Home Center, Swiss Lakewood Restaurant, Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal, Truckee River Associates, Truckee Tahoe Lumber, Wild Alaskan Seafood Restaurant.About Tahoe SAFE AllianceTahoe SAFE Alliance, a nonprofit organization, has provided direct services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse since 1985. Tahoe SAFE Alliance is currently the only agency providing assistance to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the North Lake Tahoe/Truckee region of California and Nevada. The agency believes that every person has the right to live a life free of violence and the agency works to empower victims in reclaiming those rights by providing safety, advocacy, education and support.About Project MANAProject MANA (Making Adequate Nutrition Accessible) is the hunger relief nonprofit organization serving the North and West Shores of Lake Tahoe and Truckee, which includes the coverage of three counties in Northern California and one county in Northern Nevada. Since its inception in July of 1991, Project MANA has responded to the emergency food need of the homeless, the elderly, the homebound, families in need, children and single parents.
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