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Food Notes: March 20, 2013

Chocolate FestivalThe West Virginia Chocolate Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at McCoy's Conference Center in Ripley. In addition to chocolate samples and items for sale, events include drawings, live entertainment and children's games.Admission and parking are free. Call 304-531-1133.Can-do chefsFive of the area's top chefs will compete in preparing a five-course meal using ingredients commonly available at a food pantry at Chef's Challenge 2013 at 5:30 p.m. March 27 at the Culture Center Great Hall.Chefs Jeremy Still, Joe Zando, John Wright, Tim Urbanic, and Thomas Grant and apprentice chefs will prepare gourmet food for guests to enjoy with live music by Bob Thompson and the Gay Men's Chorale.The meal will start with Calabrian Shrimp Cocktail with Artisan Focaccia Bread prepared by Chef Tim Urbanic of Cafe Cimino Country Inn in Sutton, followed by Creamy Cannellini Bean Soup by Chef Joe Zando of Catering Unlimited.Chef Jeremy Still of Edgewood Country Club will prepare Spicy Tuna Cakes as an entree served with Mandarin Orange Toasted Rice Pilaf with Cumin Roasted Vegetable Medley by Chef John Wright of Bridge Road Bistro. Chef Thomas Grant and Carver Career Center students will prepare strawberry cheesecake for dessert.Tickets are $100. All proceeds benefit Covenant House Food Pantry.State's best pie bakerThe State Fair of West Virginia isn't until August, but officials are already accepting nominations for the state's best pie baker. The Best of the Counties pie bake off seeks bakers from all 55 counties to compete for the honor of West Virginia's best pie baker.
To nominate a baker, visit and complete a ballot by noon on May 13 or mail the nominee's name, address, county and phone number to State Fair of West Virginia, P.O. Drawer 986, Lewisburg, WV 24901.The person who receives the most votes in each county will be invited to participate in the Aug. 10 contest. The 2013 State Fair will be held Aug. 9-17.Huntington cooking classes
Two cooking courses will be offered at Huntington's Kitchen.Kids Whisking in the Kitchen is a four-week course with classes running from 4 to 5 p.m. March 26, April 2, 9, and 16. Cost is $15 per student per class.The classes are for children ages 6 to 16 and will cover kitchen safety, cooking from scratch and hands-on preparation of a new recipe every week. Perfect Portion is a six-week course that runs from 6 to 8 p.m. March 27, April. 3, 10, 17 and 24, and May 1.  Cost is $15 per student per class.Reservations are required.  Huntington's Kitchen is located at 911 Third Ave. across from Pullman Square.  Call 304-522-0887 or email truffles
Cool hands are a requirement when shaping chocolate truffles or peanut butter balls. To prevent too-warm hands from melting the mixture, keep a resealable bag of ice cubes nearby and clasp the bag to cool your hands.Reach Julie Robinson at or 304-348-1230 with information to be included in Food Notes.  
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