A Chocoholic Attends a Frolic

The Chocoholic Frolic benefits SCOLA. Photo Credit: facebook.com

By Lauren Smith

Publicity Director/Lifestyles Editor

When I first heard of the opportunity to indulge in chocolate concoctions for two hours, uninhibited, and that it would also benefit charity, I didn’t care where it was, I was there.

The event, which has come to be known throughout the Scranton area as the “Chocoholic Frolic” has been held every year for the last five years by the nonprofit literacy group SCOLA.

SCOLA, or the Scranton Council of Literacy Advance, which is now referred to as the SCOLA Volunteers for Literacy has been around

since 1979 educating adult learners with educational disabilities or those who are learning English as a second language(ESL). According to SCOLA, not only do their services help make people more employable, thus lowering the unemployment rates in the area, but by having a higher number of literate citizens leads to a “decrease in poverty, crime, and homelessness.”

Chocolate plus literacy advocacy equals a win-win, right? So I set about finding more information about the Chocoholic Frolic. The event took place on Sunday, February 21st, at the Scranton Cultural Center, and through a Facebook fan page, I found out where I could find tickets and prices. For thirty dollars, one could sample all the chocolate they wanted from 6 to 8 p.m. and patrons who had received invitations could purchase a ticket for fifty dollars and get first dibs on the sugary confections for one hour before everyone else got their hands on them. Considering the amount of people in attendance, that would have been twenty more dollars well spent.

I attended the event with my sister, who had attended the first Chocoholic Frolic held four years ago at the Radisson Lackawanna, which she highly recommended. Due to the unpredictable nature of the weather, we decided to buy tickets at the door the day of the event, hoping with the popularity of it, there would still be some left. Fortunately for us, there were.

Outside in the main hall, several gift baskets were available to be raffled off, and with every ticket, attendees received a complimentary drink and could enter to win a door prize.

As we mulled around the main entrance hall waiting to go in, a few patrons made their way around the ballroom, leisurely sampling treats from the various vendors in attendance. You could feel the anticipation in the air as attendees swarmed around the entrance to the ballroom, waiting for their chance to dive in to a chocolate paradise. When the clock struck 6 p.m., everyone made a bee line for the vendor they most wanted to sample. Upon first sight, I was bombarded with chocolate fondue fountains, cakes, truffles, cookies, brownies, fudge, pretty much anything that can be made entirely of chocolate. I didn’t know where to start first.

As we made our way around the room, carrying teacup saucer-sized plates (probably to avoid the inevitable gluttony of larger plates) there were some familiar faces and vendors in the room. Gertrude Hawk Chocolates, Manning’s Ice Cream, and Patsel’s are just a few local favorites, but I was most surprised to see Jen Yemola, a Hazleton native and contestant from season three of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen”. Yemola’s table was offering samples of cake from her bakery business, Jentastic Sweets, and displaying two gorgeous wedding cakes she had brought for the event. “It’s my first year at the Chocoholic Frolic,” Yemola had said as she explained to us the flavors and fillings of the cake she brought. My sister gushed to her about how much her husband loved Yemola’s work on “Hell’s Kitchen” and Yemola seemed genuinely humbled by the praise.

Next, we moved onto Chocolate Creations of Peckville, which was one of my favorite vendors, that was offering mousse filled chocolate shot glasses and air-brushed truffles that looked too pretty to eat.

Above the ballroom, on the balcony, was a cash bar and tables set up for attendants to sit and take a break from the chocolate overload. After about 35 minutes and two mini plates of chocolates, I was ready to go, I couldn’t stand another bite. If you plan to attend a future Chocoholic Frolic, my best advice is to take a lap around the room and survey which vendors you like best before partaking in any sweets. If you’d also like to find out how to volunteer with SCOLA, no experience is needed and free training is provided, visit www.scolaliteracy.org or call Mary Ann Tolerico at 346-6203, ext. 15.

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