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The 7th Annual Carefor Brunch and Chocolate Competition

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foodiePrints is an Ottawa food blog. It was initially meant to be a collection of recipes, but grew organically into something more. We began learning about local restaurants and meeting local producers. Over the years, we have become more involved in the community through volunteer work and helping to raise money for charitable causes. We strongly believe in giving back. Many events we participate in are food-related. They benefit the arts, youth-initiatives, medical research, and healthcare. When foodiePrints received a special invitation to take part in a popular chocolate competition to raise money for Carefor, we gladly accepted.

Two Saturdays ago, Don, Claire, and I found ourselves navigating a decorated ballroom filled with laughter, excitement, and the heavenly scent of chocolate. It was the 7th annual Carefor Chocolate Brunch and Competition.

The 7th annual Carefor Chocolate Brunch and Competition

Held on March 19th, the Chocolate Brunch and Competition is a fundraiser for Carefor Health & Community Services. Carefor is a non-profit charitable health care organization. For over 110 years, Carefor has provided services for people of all ages and all stages of life. It offers a wide variety of accessible home-care and community support services.

Each year, Carefor Health & Community Services invites up to 15 competitors, ranging from small truffle shops, caterers and chocolatiers to large local restaurants, bakeries, and hotels in the Ottawa-Gatineau region to compete against one another and serve hundreds attendees sublime dishes made with chocolate. At the end of the competition, a panel of judges selects the best chocolate dessert. And, attendees choose a people’s choice.

Incredibly, Don and I were asked to take part of the judging panel. However, with my rather unfortunate chocolate allergy (darn it!), Claire happily stepped in. Together, she and Don represented foodiePrints while I took endless photos.

Competition Day
For the third year in a row, the 2011 event was sold-out. Its 400 attendees were treated to a buffet bunch, a morning of live music, and silent and live auctions with items donated by local businesses.

Lining up for brunch

Lining up for brunch

A variety of pastries

A variety of pastries

Afterward, table by table, attendees were invited to sample the chocolate dishes, prepared by the competitors. Take home containers were given to each guest, ensuring everyone could take home something sweet and sinful.

Take-home boxes on every table

Take-home boxes on every table

Before I get you on a sweet chocolate high, let me introduce the judges.

The judging panel

The judging panel

Pictured from left to right: Director of Communications Jantine Van Kregten (@OttawaJantie) of Ottawa Tourism, Don (@foodieprints) & Claire (@gadgetgirl_ca) of foodiePrints, Ottawa Citizen Food Editior Ron Eade, and Chef Christian Faure (International Executive Pastry Chef of Le Cordon Bleu). Not pictured: Frances Ebbrell from 98.5 The Jewel

Judging Criteria
There were two categories for the competitors: the Judges Choice (judged blindly) and the People’s Choice. Three components made up the total score per chocolate dish: Taste (worth 10 points), Originality (worth 5 points), and Table Presentation (worth 5 points).

The Competitors
With ten competitors, there was a lot of chocolate on hand and wonderfully decorated displays to work through. Chocolate enthusiasts were greeted at the first table with a fountain of flowing chocolate for fondue.

Chocolate fondue anyone?

Chocolate fondue anyone?

Pasticceria Gelateria
From there, attendees wandered through the chocolate sampling, beginning with first-time competitor Chef Joe Calabro of Pasticceria Gelateria.

Pasticceria Gelateria's Double Chocolate Truffle Mousse

Pasticceria Gelateria’s Double Chocolate Truffle Mousse

Chef Calabro’s entry: 56% Callebaut Belgian Chocolate Mousse with a chocolate cake base, and chocolate truffle center coated in dark chocolate ganache.

Table Presentation of Pasticceria Gelateria

Table Presentation of Pasticceria Gelateria

Entry dish for judging

Entry dish for judging

Sucré, Salé
From Manotick, Chef Michelle Guillemet’s entry: “Le Dome” – a 70% chocolate dome, cremeux insert, chocolate cake base with almond croustillant, finished with a french macaron and a pipette of blood orange juice.

Le Dome

Le Dome

Table Presentation for Sucré, Salé

Table Presentation for Sucré, Salé

Entry dish for the judges

Entry dish for the judges

The Joy of Gluten Free
The Joy of Gluten Free’s entry: The Ultimate Craving

The Joy of Gluten Free's The Ultimate Craving

The Joy of Gluten Free’s The Ultimate Craving

Chef Susan Phipps describes her entry as, “The best chewiest moist brownie of all time, smothering in Susan’s Mom’s chocolate sauce, layered with mousse and crunchy candied bits, Hershey’s semi sweet chocolate, brandy and Drambui.”

Table Presentation for The Joy of Gluten Free

Table Presentation for The Joy of Gluten Free

Entry dish for judging

Entry dish for judging

Southern Cross Grill on Queen
Executive Chef Phil Morneault’s entry: Raspberry Chocolate Sugar Bomb

Raspberry Chocolate Sugar Bomb

Raspberry Chocolate Sugar Bomb

This sinful dish included raspberry and chocolate ganache between two semi-sweet chocolate crusted brown sugar coated wafers dipped in rich dark chocolate.

Table Presentation for Southern Cross Grill on Queen

Table Presentation for Southern Cross Grill on Queen

Entry dish for judging

Entry dish for judging

The Wakefield Mill & Spa
Winner of the 2010 People’s Choice Award, here is their entry for this year’s competition: Sushi

The Wakefield Mill's Dessert Sushi

The Wakefield Mill’s Dessert Sushi

Chef Romain Riva’s sushi consisted of white chocolate and coconut milk sushi with fresh fruit with spicy black chocolat dip Cocao soya reduction.

Entry dish for judging

Entry dish for judging


Todric’s Fine Dining and Catering
Todric’s 2011 entry: Duo of Hot Chocolate and Old Fashioned Donut

Old Fashioned Donut

Old Fashioned Donut

Chef Eric Patenaude’s dish consisted of home made hot chocolate and a freshly fried donut, drizzled with chocolate caramel.

Entry dish for judging

Entry dish for judging

Fratelli Restaurant
A former judges’ choice winner in 2008, their entry for this year’s competition: Two Chocolate Terinne

Two Choclate Terinne by Chef Tania Jacques

Two Choclate Terinne by Chef Tania Jacques

Chef Tania Jacques chocolate dessert consisted of white and dark chocolate pâté with raspberry coulis

Table Presentation for Fratelli

Table Presentation for Fratelli

Tulips & Maple Catering
Tulips & Maples entry: Double Sensation

Double Sensation

Double Sensation

Chef Chris Tremblay’s chocolate dessert consisted of flourless dark chocolate and ancho cake with bourbon and orange crème anglaise and roasted garlic and goat cheese truffle. It was garnished with slices of dessicated, candied orange.

Entry dish for judging

Entry dish for judging

Luxe Bistro
Luxe Bistro had one of the most visually appealing entries of the competition. Even their restaurant signage was an edible treat.

A chocolate signage

A chocolate signage

Luxe Bistro's pastry chef plating

Luxe Bistro’s pastry chef plating

Chef Maneeca Belbin’s entry: Raspbery and White Chocolate Ganache.

Raspbery and White Chocolate Ganache

Raspbery and White Chocolate Ganache

It consisted of a dark chocolate and raspberry ganache with cookie crumb crust and white chocolate anglaise.

Entry dish for judging

Entry dish for judging

Rochef Chocolatier
Unfortunately due to an undisclosed family matter, Rochef Chocolatier had to pull out at the last minute. However, chocolatier Roch Fourniera generously provided 400 truffles for sampling.

Truffles from Rochef Chocolatier

Truffles from Rochef Chocolatier

The foodiePrints Judges

Don and Claire getting ready for their first bite

Don and Claire getting ready for their first bite

Discussing...

Discussing…

Milk to cleanse the palate

Milk to cleanse the palate

Remains of the foodiePrints judging table...

Remains of the foodiePrints judging table…

And the winner of the People’s Choice award went to…

Sucré, Salé

Sucré, Salé

Finally, the winner of the Judges’ Choice went to…

Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana

Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana

With ticket prices at $75 for adults (Charitable receipt for $25) and $40 for children (aged 4-12 years old), both silent and live auctions, and dozens of sponsors, Carefor announced they had reached their goal of raising $30000 just before the trophies were presented.

Thank you Carefor for inviting us to participate in this year’s chocolate competition! Congratulations!

Here is a slideshow of all the photos taken by the foodiePrints team at the event:

Teacher by day and blogger by night, I have always been passionate about food. I grew up watching my mother cook and bake as I sat at the kitchen table doing my homework. In the summers, I happily played in the backyard garden, picking strawberries as my parents tended their crops. A city girl with a love for the outdoors, my goal is to capture the ever-changing Ottawa food scene. When I’m not running, you can find me shopping for ingredients or in the kitchen cooking for my family and friends. Whether you’ve been cooking for a long time or are learning to cook for the first time, I hope you will find something delicious here to inspire you.