Local bakers submitted a record 240 entries for judging on Sunday at the Kennett Chocolate Lovers Festival held in Kennett Square for the third year in a row. With names like “Chocolate Blackout Cake,” “Love Child Chocolate Raspberry Torte,” “Black and White Sea Salt Caramels,” and “Feelin’ Groovy Fudge,” the entries included new concoctions and traditional favorites to please every palate. “The creativity was fabulous this year,” said Mary Hutchins of Historic Kennett Square, who served as a judge.  “Where else can you get chocolate-covered mushrooms with sea salt made by The Mushroom Cap, but in Kennett Square?”

First-, second- and third-place ribbons were awarded to professionals, amateurs and students when the 30 judges had completed their mission of tasting the entries.  Winners are available at www.kennettchocolate.org. First-place amateur winners received gift certificates to Hotel DuPont, Victory Brewing, Harvest, Mile High and Two Stones Pub.

This year’s Festival featured a sold out Connoisseurs Hour for a limited number of ticket holders.  Connoisseur ticket holders enjoyed a relaxed first hour of tasting and a presentation by Chocolatier Sean Cavanaugh of Renaissance Artisan Chocolate, who gave attendees assorted ganache samples to compare. In total more than 1,300 people attended the Festival.

“We are so thrilled by the quality of our chocolate entries,” said Carrie Freeman, CEO of United Way of Southern Chester County (UWSCC).  “Professional entries included submissions from Talula’s Table, The Country Butcher, The Gables of Chadds Ford, Sweet Christine’s and more.  And our amateurs are amazing.  My favorite submission this year was called, ‘This Peanut Butter And Potato Chip Walk Into A Bar.’ Our bakers know how to have fun!”

The event raised over $14,000 for UWSCC’s Community Impact Fund.  UWSCC serves the residents of four school districts: Avon Grove, Kennett, Oxford, and Unionville-Chadds Ford. Over 13,000 people received support from UWSCC last year.