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updated: 1/11/2012 9:55 AM

Naperville Chocolate Festival returns with sweet treats

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  • The ninth annual Chocolate Festival returns Saturday to the Neuqua Valley High School Freshman Center in Naperville.

      The ninth annual Chocolate Festival returns Saturday to the Neuqua Valley High School Freshman Center in Naperville.
    Daily Herald File Photo

  • Terri Jacobs, a winner of the Sweet Treats Baking Competition, will return to the Chocolate Festival to teach bakers how to make her award-winning truffles.

      Terri Jacobs, a winner of the Sweet Treats Baking Competition, will return to the Chocolate Festival to teach bakers how to make her award-winning truffles.
    Courtesy of Terri Jacobs

 
 

Like a valuable treasure, Terri Jacobs' family guards secret recipes.

Recipes like her great-, great-grandmother's Sicilian pasta sauce are only shared with relatives.

But the Oswego woman will disrupt that tradition when she reveals her tricks for something sweeter: award-winning truffles.

Jacobs will demonstrate her skills at the ninth annual Chocolate Festival Saturday at the Neuqua Valley High School Freshman Center in Naperville.

"There are definitely bulging eyes," said Jacobs, 39, of her family's reaction when they savor the decadent morsels.

They're made with simple ingredients and a bit of a kick.

"A little chocolate," Jacobs said. "A little cream cheese. And a little liqueur."

Godiva chocolate liqueur, in fact.

She organizes truffle parties for her friends and delivers packages of truffles every Christmas. She decided to enter the festival's Sweet Treats Baking Competition last year on a last-minute whim.

Although she doesn't consider herself an "expert chocolatier," she claimed the adult prize in the candy category and earned a blue ribbon that still hangs in her kitchen.

On Saturday, she'll be preaching about all the patience bakers need to chill the truffles, dip them in more chocolate and chill them again -- a process that totals four hours.

Jacobs will join past winners of the competition and local chefs in youth and adult demo rooms at the festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At the baking competition, city officials like Naperville Mayor George Pradel will help judge an expected 30 entries in the categories of cookies, brownies, bars, candies and cakes.

After the winners are announced at 1:15 p.m., attendees can taste the desserts.

Visitors also will spot Willy Wonka distributing golden tickets to kids. For a new addition to the festival, a volunteer will portray the candy genius -- without the awkward hair in the Gene Wilder film and more like the slick Johnny Depp version.

When the kids get the golden twinkle in their eyes, the ticket will enter them into the baking competition, where they'll judge entries by other youngsters.

The festival also hosts vendors offering samples, selling their products and decorating their red-and-white booths. Cakes, brownies and even a chocolate facial are some of the confections filling a room lined with some oversized suckers.

"I could gain 10 pounds just with the smell alone," said Special Events Coordinator Dawn Portner of Naperville-based 360 Youth Services, the festival's host.

The event is one of three fundraisers for the nonprofit agency that counts counseling for youths and families as one of its services. This year, organizers hope to raise more than $15,000.

Tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for ages 6 to 17 and free for children younger than 5. For details, visit www.360youthservices.com.

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