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‘History of Chocolate’ extravaganza

Fox Run chefs, residents show devotion to sweet treat

Created date

March 22nd, 2011

On any given evening, the restaurants in Fox Run s two clubhouses serve up world-class dining experiences. But this past Valentine s Day, the artistry of Fox Run s Director of Dining Services Kevin Cunningham transformed Fireside and Signatures restaurants to islands of chocolate heaven. Over 1,000 diners residents and family members savored every moment of his History of Chocolate extravaganza. The intoxicating fragrance of chocolate filled the air, and a grand buffet of chocolate delectables greeted each restaurant s arriving diners. Arrayed on each buffet was an elaborate assortment of decadent chocolate cheesecakes, rich chocolate cakes, and 22 different types of bite-size chocolate confections such as hand-rolled truffles and hand-dipped Michigan sweet cherries. The selections also included sugar-free delights.

Secret family recipes

Chef Cunningham literally grew up in the kitchen because his parents owned bakeries and restaurants. His weakness is dark chocolate, and his specialty is cheesecake. He dipped into his file of secret family recipes for the event and prepared many of the delectables himself. His team of 20 people, including two chefs de cuisine, spent a week working their magic on 650 pounds of chocolate dark, semi-sweet, and white. Eat two ounces a day and you ll live forever! Cunningham recommends, tongue in cheek. He launched the event in 2005 to educate and wow residents about chocolate. So, besides the abundant desserts, Cunningham provided handouts about chocolate and periodically took the microphone to talk about chocolate. It s the most fun event of the year! he says. Residents just love it. In fact, they ask him about it months in advance and invite family members to fly in and attend. Glo Whan s daughter, Raina, who visits three times a year from New York State, schedules her winter trips around it. She missed it this year, which was unfortunate, says Whan: My daughter loves chocolate. It s a family trait.

Sweet temptations

As did her own mother, Glo Whan has gone over to the dark side. Dark chocolate is good for you in moderation, of course, she says. Whan searched it out as she browsed the Fireside s tempting grand buffet. She couldn t resist Cunningham s triple chocolate cheesecake, and the chocolate-dipped strawberries were to die for, Whan says. In fact, she and her three tablemates each enjoyed one as an appetizer. I could have eaten just chocolate and skipped dinner, she adds. But the meal also highlighted chocolate. Anatra al Cioccolatoch, which translates to duck with chocolate, was one of four special entrees. And there were chocolate beverages rich, traditional hot chocolate plus a white chocolate version spiked with whiskey. As Whan left the restaurant, she resisted pinching one final velvety chocolate morsel from chips scattered around the buffet s pi ce de r sistance sculptures carved by Fox Run s chefs from 50-pound blocks of chocolate. But she did take home an assortment of chocolates to freeze and save for her daughter and her snowbird Fox Run neighbor. How much did residents shell out for the indulgent evening? Not a cent. One meal a day, including decadent desserts, is included in Fox Run s monthly service fee. The only expense might have been the calories. But residents could compensate for those in Fox Run s health club no charge there, either.