Dining With Denise Neil

Death by Chocolate: I didn't die

Velvet Cream Bakery's Kelly Duggan, right, is on a roll lately. Not only did she win the top prize at Cocktails & Cookies last month, but she also got judges' choice at Death By Chocolate.Saturday’s sixth annual Death by Chocolate event was, as always, a good time, even though my sugar crash was pretty severe.

Vendors go all-out for the event, which allows attendees to sample gazillions of chocolate creations, all beautifully displayed and adhering to a pirate theme. It’s a tad overwhelming, not only for the eyes but for the digestive system.

I served on a very interesting panel of judges assembled by the very interesting Joe Stumpe that included Tanya Tandoc of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, Bonnie Aeschliman of Cooking at Bonnie’s Place, and Chuck Giles, the owner of Neighbors Bar & Grill.

We were pretty unanimous on the winners.

Judges’ Choice went to the amazing Kelly Duggan, owner of Velvet Cream Bakery. She also was the winner at Cocktails & Cookies last month, and it’s becoming apparent she knows her sweets. Her Death by Chocolate entry was an array of chewy and perfect macaroons in several flavors, including orange and lime margarita, Limoncello and Mayan chocolate.

Cocoa Dolce, which brought rum shots encased in chocolate, won not only “Most Creative Use of Chocolate,” but they also won the People’s Choice award.

Best Presentation went to Buckingham Cakes, which put out a beautiful display of beer-infused mini-cupcakes. (I tried one flavored like Blue Moon, one of my favorite brews.) And the Best Savory award, given to one of the few vendors offering non-dessert items, went to Two Brothers BBQ, which offered a delicious barbecue sandwich served with chocolate sauce.

Here are a few more pics from the event, courtesy of my date, photog Jaime Green.