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Ladies and gentleman, step right up to the sweetest show on Earth. Fantasies in Chocolate is back for an evening of chocolate sampling, wine tasting and magical entertainment on Nov. 7 at the Grand Sierra Resort.

Underneath this year’s big top, magicians, stilt walkers, silk aerialists and hoopers will add to the event’s bohemian circus theme. But the main attraction includes sampling the sweets, savories and libations provided by this year’s vendors.

Twenty local restaurants, bars and speciality food shops will create chocolate confections and savory creations. Between bites of dark chocolate cupcakes with mocha buttercream by Delicious Designs or savory housemade sourdough rafts topped with mole and whipped cream cheese by Whole Foods, sip on a variety of wine, spirits and beer provided by Southern Wine and Spirits.

The 31st annual event, organized by the Reno Gazette-Journal, is a benefit for the RGJ Foundation, which supports local nonprofit organization, schools and individuals through scholarships and grants. Over the years, RGJ has donated more than $1 million to local charities.

“This event is a community tradition,” said John Maher, president and publisher of Reno Gazette-Journal. “The event allows people to dress in their favorite formal or costume wear, while also raising money that goes back to the community they love. Our foundation gives back to so many deserving causes, and we thank the community for helping us help others.”

VIP experience

VIP offers early entry to attendees, a first taste at the nibbles and a autumn-themed meal prepared by the chefs at the Grand Sierra Resort. The VIP meal starts with a salad of winter greens studded with pomegranate seeds and topped with cinnamon-roasted butternut squash and orange pomegranate dressing. Cabernet-braised short ribs and dried apricots bedded in saffron Israeli couscous comprise the main course.

“VIP is a really special way to experience the event,” Maher said. “It feels like you’ve got the room to yourself before the bigger crowd comes in for general admission.

Those who buy VIP tickets will also be treated to live music from Rick Metz and strolling magicians.

The VIP portion of the evening begins at 5:30 p.m., with dinner served at 6 p.m.

General admission

At 7:30 p.m., the doors open for general admission and DJ Fierce will turn up the beats.

Like VIP attendees, general admission guests will received an etched wine glass and a vast array of libations and sweets. A few items to try:

  • Kimmie Candy Company’s salted caramel chocorocks
  • Rounds Bakery’s cotton candy and caramel popcorn macarons
  • Grand Sierra Resort and Casino’s henna-decorated truffles
  • Scheels’ chocolate and vanilla fudge with caramel and mini chocolate chips
  • Winey Mukies’ Ferrari-Carano merlot ice cream
  • Delicious Designs’ white chocolate popcorn with buffalo spices, sea salt and blue cheesecake crumble
  • Tahoe Blue Vodka’s chocolate cherry martini
  • Sugar Loves Chocolates’ banana caramels in dark chocolate with cocoa butter
  • Nothing Bundt Cakes’ red velvet and chocolate chip bundtini

While chocolate sampling is a staple at Fantasies in Chocolate, the event also offers savory dishes as well. On the savory side, dishes will incorporate cocoa with a twist. Guests can nibble bites from Men Wielding Fire, Reef Sushi and Reno Local Food Group.

Pair those bonbons and bites with wine, beer, spirits and sparkling wine. Southern Wine & Spirits has been a major sponsor of the event throughout the years, providing upwards of 15 booths including a plethora of wine and bubbly samples. In addition to Southern’s booths, libations will be provided by 1864 Tavern, Great Basin Brewery, Tahoe Blue Vodka, the Depot and the Jungle.

Entertainment and attire

New this year, the event welcomes TapSnap an interactive photo booth that allows attendees to add backgrounds and props to an image before sending it off to their social media accounts. Also new is performances of acrobatic feats by the Siren Society.

Guests are encouraged to become part of the performance by donning their most fashionable bohemian attire, paying tribute to the spectators of the circus.

The party doesn’t end at 10:30 p.m.. Instead, it moves to the official Fantasies in Chocolate After Party at LEX Nightclub. LEX is hosting a bohemian costume contest, where the winner receives $500 cash. The official After Party costs $15, and all proceeds will be donated to the RGJ Foundation.

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