That quotation pretty much sums up how I feel. An avid believer in the healing powers of chocolate, when I found out Easter Seals Nevada would not only host their second annual “Cheers to Chocolate” event this October, but that I would be involved in the planning process, “excited” doesn’t even begin to describe my emotions.
Taking place at Tivoli Village here in Las Vegas, one of the most beautiful and scenic shopping experiences in the city with European-inspired architecture, “Cheers to Chocolate” is an evening full of delicious wines provided by Total Wine & More and chocolate treats of all kinds from vendors throughout the area. It’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory…for adults. I took preparing for this event very seriously. I didn’t eat lunch or dinner that day so that I would have room for (literally) all the chocolate. I’m talking—chocolate cupcakes, chocolate covered popcorn, chocolate strawberries, biscotti with chocolate flavors, chocolate vinegars (it sounds gross but is oh-so-good and also only 130 calories a bottle), braised short rib in a chocolate sauce, chocolate coffee, chocolate truffles–somebody check my pulse, I think I just went into diabetic shock just thinking about it again!
Paired with a silent auction of fabulous items and a special musical performance by The Phat Pack, “Cheers to Chocolate” donates the proceeds raised back to Easter Seals Nevada, helping them to serve more than 7,000 Nevadans living with disabilities. Talk about a win-win (or a win-win-wine, if you will), I was ecstatic to be a part of such an important event.
The evening of October 20 rolled around and the perfect fall Vegas night opened its arms to us. A cool breeze filled the outdoor venue and before we knew it, hundreds of Las Vegans were strolling down the now packed cobblestone streets of Tivoli, sampling a smorgasbord of chocolate treats, sipping wines from all around the world and bidding on silent auction items. Twinkling pink Christmas lights lit up the trees and musical numbers from Broadway shows echoed through the night sky and for a moment, we were all a part of something bigger than ourselves.
And yes, the wines and chocolates were fantastic (have I mentioned the braised short rib in a chocolate sauce?), however my favorite part of the evening was seeing the Easter Seals Nevada team beaming with the success of the event. Tears in their eyes, they hugged one another tightly in recognition of the impact the funds raised will make in the lives of thousands of people throughout Nevada. When I heard the words “We’ve nearly doubled last year’s attendance,” my heart swelled and I, too found myself blinking back tears.
As the evening came to a close, bottles of wine were nestled carefully back in their boxes and only a few abandoned truffle wrappers remained tousling in the breeze; a reminder of a divine evening and the pieces of ourselves we leave behind. And if you ask me, I’d say the attendees of this year’s “Cheers to Chocolate” left pretty substantial ones.
However, I think I ate 14 cupcakes.