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Make A Sweet Gesture This Saturday

Make A Sweet Gesture This Saturday

This Saturday the Exeter Memorial Building will be transformed into an elegant soiree with string quartets and clarinets setting the mood for champagne and fine wine tasting to complement the best local chefs have to offer for both entrée and dessert.

The Optimist Club of Exeter will hold its sixth annual Chocolate Romance gourmet tasting event from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday, March 23 at the Exeter Memorial Building, located at 324 N. Kaweah Ave. in Exeter.

Four restaurants will compete in a blind taste test with local celebrity judges including Exeter Mayor and 2011 Heritage Award winner Robyn Stearns and 2012 Woman of the Year Marta King. This year’s restaurants include Cappella Coffee House, Hometown Emporium, Monet’s and Wildflower Café, all in Exeter. Judges will be presented with an entrée and dessert from each restaurant but will not know which dish was prepared by which restaurant. Judges will only have a brief description of the dish and how it has incorporated chocolate into the recipe. Judges will then vote for the Restaurateur of the Year, given to the best entrée, and Chocolatier of the Year, given to the best dessert.

Everyone attending the event will receive two tickets, white for entrée and red for dessert. The tickets will be placed in ballot boxes in front of their favorite entrée and dessert and will be tallied for the People’s Choice award in both categories. All winners will receive engraved glass bowls signifying the category and year in which they won the award.

“There is really nothing like this event in the area,” said Roger Wagnor, president of the Optimist Club of Exeter. “We’ve been able to create an atmosphere that is elegant and relaxing.”

There is also a silent auction and Tree of Love where donations of any denomination will be accepted. Proceeds from the event benefit scholarships for continuation high school students at Deep Creek Academy in Farmersville and Kaweah High School in Exeter. The scholarships are unique because they can be used at a variety of post-secondary education including community college courses, certification programs, beauty/barber schools, truck driving programs, apprenticeships, vocational education programs, etc.

The Optimist Club of Exeter was the first organization to offer scholarships to graduating seniors who had attended continuation high school or alternative education classes in high schools in Exeter and Farmersville. The motto of the Optimist Club is “Bringing out the best in kids.” The Exeter club operates with the understanding there are no bad kids, only kids in bad situations. Many students attend continuation high school because they have fallen behind on units due to absence or sickness, some struggle with unstable family situations and some are even considered homeless.

“We have met some great kids who have endured more as teenagers than many will have to deal with in their lives,” Wagner said. “In addition to the scholarships, we try and provide experiences for these students, many of whom have never had a traditional Thanksgiving meal or been on a field trip to explore career opportunities.”

Tickets are $35 per person and include unlimited entrée and dessert samples and your ticket to voting for the People’s Choice Awards. Tickets are still available and can be purchased from any Optimist Club member, at the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, The Foothills Sun-Gazette or Main Street Exeter.

The Optimist Club of Exeter meets at 11:30 a.m. every Thursday in the dining room at Cappella Coffee House, located at 132 N. E St. in Exeter. The club recognizes one student each month for overcoming obstacles to succeed in school, hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for both schools and provides funding for yearbooks, field trips and senior trips for the continuation high school students. For more information about the event or the club, call Reggie Ellis at 559-909-2996 or Linda McEwen at 559-592-5578.

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