A decade of decadence

Death by Chocolate is Wichita's sweetest fundraiser

Written by Joe Stumpe

Death By Chocolate, Exploration Place's biggest annual fundraiser, has found a sweet spot in Wichita. The 10th anniversary theme is "It May Be Death By Chocolate, But Rock 'n' Roll Never Dies," and here are 10 reasons why it may be the biggest and best yet:

1. CHOCOLATE CORNUCOPIA: If you haven't been to Death By Chocolate, it's hard to grasp the amount of the sweet dark stuff that awaits. Tables piled high with custom chocolates made by Cero's Candies, Sugar Sisters Bakery, The Cake Shoppe, W.O.W. Cakes, Cravings Gluten Free Bakery and Butler Community College's culinary program are just some you'll want to taste.

2. SAVORY SAMPLES: Between dessert courses, get some real food in your belly in the form of snacks from the likes of Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Luciano's, Molino's, Taste and See, Delano Barbecue and more.

3. WASH IT DOWN: Wine, beer, signature cocktails and specialty drinks from stations set up around Exploration Place and vendors such as Freddy's Frozen Custard and Nitro Joe's ensure you won't go thirsty.

4. COMPETITION BRINGS OUT THE BEST: In addition to serving partygoers, who vote on the People's Choice award, the participating restaurants and vendors try to impress judges who designate winners in five categories: Most Creative Use of Chocolate, Most Creative Display, Best Use of Theme, Best Savory and Judge's Choice. Not surprisingly, the restaurants, bakeries and other participants tend to pull out all the stops, meaning you'll taste and see treats not on their regular menus.

5. SNEAK PEEK: Ticket holders will get a look at Exploration Place's new traveling exhibit, "GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World," including the world's largest playable guitar, and some of the most expensive guitars and instruments from around the world.

6. DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY: Annie Up, one of the city's most popular party bands, will provide music for dancing.

7. QUITE A PAIR: Master chocolatier Beth Tully, owner of Cocoa Dolce, and sommelier Jamie Stratton of Jacob Liquor will pair fine chocolates and wines during three sessions near the dome theater. Stratton also does something very entertaining with a saber and champagne bottle that we won't give away in advance. The sessions always sell out quickly, so make your reservation today.

8. DRESS THE PART: Guests are encouraged to wear "rock star attire." So pull out that leather jacket, torn jeans and dark sunglasses and get your rock on! If someone asks for your autograph all the more fun.

9. THE EVENT DRAWS MORE PEOPLE EACH YEAR, which means that this year should raise the most money yet for Exploration Place programs like the guitar exhibit and outreach efforts in area schools.

10. THAT'S NOT ALL, FOLKS: Sierra Scott as emcee, a silent auction, the creation of a new piece of art by Paint the Towne we could go on, but you'll just have to see for yourself.

Event information

Death by Chocolate
When: 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27
Where: Exploration Place
Tickets: $85 (per person, plus tax) on sale at exploration.org or 316.660.0620

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