Chocolate feast benefits young women

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How many forms can chocolate take?

Dozens of versions of the delectable treat were arranged on tables Saturday at the Nevada State Library and Archives for the American Association of University Women's third annual Feast of Chocolate fund-raiser.

Guests piled red plates with old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies and brownies, also making room for more exotic confections like cognac chocolate truffles, chocolate creme brulee hearts or chocolate-dipped strawberries.

The chocolate delights and raffle prizes were donated by area businesses and members of the organization promoting social advancement for women in the community.

"This is what makes the whole event, donations from merchants," said Jeanne Mascsak, the event organizer. "Members donate six dozen pieces of chocolate, themselves."

Linda Woons piled a plate to take back to work at the Silver Dollar Casino and snatched another piece of a bite-sized, heart-shaped chocolate cheesecake.

"I had to go back for this," she said of the treat.

Kay Edwards, of the South Lake Tahoe AAUW branch, couldn't decide on a favorite.

"It's all good she said."

She and her husband, Ed, had brought friends visiting from Southern California to the event. Tony and Phyllis Johs were celebrating their 20th anniversary with the indulgence along with the Edwards and Joan and Bill Heynen.

"We're chocoholics," Mrs. Heynen admitted, then mentioned all but Tony were retired teachers, as if there was a connection.

Michael Leiken, 4, of Carson City, sampled a variety of chocolate from the plates of his parents, Pam and Ron Leiken. His favorite?

"These," he said taking a big bite of a chocolate-dipped strawberry before passing it back to his dad.

"Whatever's in front of him," said Michael's mom regarding his favorite treat.

Michael then picked up a chocolate-dipped crispy cookie and broke it in three pieces, giving mom and dad a piece before crunching on the third piece, obviously enjoying the afternoon indulgence.

The chocolate fantasy was for a good cause.

Each year, the AAUW presents scholarships to women with funds earned from the Feast of Chocolate and a fall pecan sale.

Early sales for the Feast of Chocolate 2002 were "pretty strong," Mascsak said, "about the same as last year."

Last year, the chocolate event raised $1,400 toward three scholarships of $1,000 each.

"We make sure that the money we're raising goes back to help someone in our community," she said.

Other than being women in the community pursuing a higher education, scholarship recipients choose their own course of study,.

"They can be whatever they want," Mascsak added. "We just want them to be something, something important."


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