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Kowtow to Cacao

Stefano Secchi

Chocolate has some powerful aficionados.

The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, co-creator of the universe and all death and rebirth, was such a superfan that he carried along a cacao tree when traveling from Paradise to Earth on his Morning Star beam. Willy Wonka and his army of Oompa Loompas could transform the lives of poverty-stricken children with confectionery creations and golden tickets. A close friend of mine who has the power to pass or fail 10th-graders at her suburban high school might start taking Dove dark chocolate intravenously sometime soon. But even the humble among us are keen to devour this delectable confection as often as possible. Thus the Gourmet Showcase 2005 on Thursday in Addison. It promises to be an evening of bacchanalian pleasures as local chefs showcase their chocolate-inspired creations and pair them with wines and liqueurs.

It won't be just sweets (although there certainly will be plenty of them). Think beef tenderloin medallions in a cocoa curry sauce from World Master Chef Society chef Patrick Mitchell or spicy chocolate chicken enchiladas from Sambuca chef Stephen Shires. How about duck molé or pork tenderloin with cocoa and cognac jus? In the gelato department, Paciugo will tempt patrons with six offerings, including spumoni made with layers of dark chocolate and Dutch cocoa powder as well as a gelato made from the Mozzarella Company's local, fresh mascarpone cheese and rum. For the thirsty, Clay Pit chef Tinku Saini will offer a modern twist on a classic Indian beverage with chocolate burfi, and Cultured Cup will serve a Charbonnel Et Walker's exquisite drinking chocolate from London. As for dessert, Mercy Wine Bar chef Schuylar Snowden will create a red wine and chocolate torte topped with almonds and whipped cream, and Ferrari's Villa chef Stefano Secchi will serve crepes drenched in chocolate Godiva liqueur. Other participants include Canary Cafe, Central Market, Lazlo's Cuisine and Nate's Seafood and Steakhouse. So if you can appreciate a culture that made human sacrifices to the guardian goddesses of chocolate, this just might be a religious experience for you.

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