19th Annual Chocolate Fantasy Approaches Sell-Out:
Gala Benefits the NM Museum of Natural History Foundation

Food Network Challenge judge Kerry Vincent is a featured guest and
judge of the event’s Chocolate Competition

**Great Interview, Photo, and Video Opportunities**

Albuquerque, NM – The 19th Annual Chocolate Fantasy fundraiser gala, presented by KPMG LLP, is Saturday, March 5, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa in the Santa Ana Pueblo.

Venture into the striking and emblematic Tanzania – the grassland plains of the Serengeti! Be swept away on a wild safari where you’ll explore amazing wildlife and discover the rich culture of Africa. To fully engross guests in a true getaway experience, the fundraiser gala has moved to a new venue for 2011 – one that will assuredly enhance the spirit of Chocolate Fantasy.

Incorporating the theme “Pride of the Serengeti,” this black-tie event benefiting the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation will showcase intricate chocolate sculptures from New Mexico’s finest chefs, as well as an abundant silent auction, a vacation drawing, amazing cuisine, and lots of chocolate!

Chocolatiers from across New Mexico will design chocolate sculptures based on the event theme, and provide delectable samples for guests, both of which will be judged during the Chocolate Competition. Food Network Challenge judge and master sugar artist Kerry Vincent is the featured celebrity guest judge and will be joined by three other incredibly talented culinary experts:

Paul Edward – head of research and development for Chef Rubber in Las Vegas, Nevada;
Michelle Tampakis – senior baking instructor at The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, and the Director of the Center for Advanced Pastry Studies (CAPS@ICE) program;
and Mary Jo Stojak – co-owner of the Fine Chocolate Industry Association based out of Seattle.

The fundraising event will also include a grand African-inspired buffet amid imaginative, themed décor as well as live music, entertainment, and dancing. Many other wonders will surprise guests throughout the evening, including some incredible items found only at the silent auction!

The stunning CapriPlus Collection by Roberto Coin features a gorgeous 18kt yellow gold Pave' diamond dangle earrings, ring, and bangle and is valued at more than $20,000. The collection was donated by Beauchamp Jewelers. Guests can also bid on other beautiful jewelry, fascinating art, vacation getaways, dining and wine packages, spa and salon treatments, and more at a silent auction worth over $80,000.

Anyone can purchase tickets to win a vacation package for two to Spain, courtesy of American Airlines and Classic Travel, Inc. The lucky winner will enjoy first class accommodations for four nights in Madrid and two nights in Barcelona, as well as a day trip to Toledo and access to museums across Madrid. The total prize package is valued at $5700.

The Serengeti is a beautiful paradise amid the deserts of Africa. Its unique ecosystem has inspired filmmakers, photographers, and writers alike and is often referred to as “the place where the land moves on forever.” The Serengeti is mystical and tranquil, yet it erupts with the vibrancy of nature, elements of danger, and wondrous intrigue.

Individual Chocolate Fantasy tickets are $150 per person ($75 is tax deductible as a contribution). Reserved tables for 10 people are $2500. Half tables for 6 are $1500. Call Joylynn Armijo at (505) 841-2884 or email

Vacation drawing tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Membership desk in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science at 1801 Mountain Road NW, by calling (505) 841-2884, or during Chocolate Fantasy on March 5. (Need not be present to win.)

Presenting sponsor KPMG LLP

Intel, Summit Electric Supply, Bank of the West

Bank of Albuquerque, Bank of America, Lockheed Martin/Sandia National Laboratories/Technology Ventures Corporation, Hunt Development Group, LP/ WHPacific, Mercedes-Benz of Albuquerque, Wells Fargo, LithExcel

Albuquerque the Magazine, American Airlines, Beauchamp Jewelers, Classic Travel, Inc., Clear Channel Outdoor, Distracted by Décor, Frank Frost Photography, KOB Eyewitness News 4, 99.5 Magic FM, and 770 KKOB News Radio.

Encantado Resort – Kaitlin and Christian Ojeda
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Charles Guiswite and Casey Trent
Hyatt Regency Albuquerque – Patrick Mohn
Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa – Darci Rochau

Casa Vieja Restaurant – Josh Gerwin, Kerian Platow and Kate Gerwin
Krispy Art – Adrienne Toubbeh and Kris Mills
Le Paris French Bakery – Aude Laau and Ernesto Baca
Luminaria at The Inn and Spa at Loretto – Andrea Clover
Nada, Inc. – Sharon Wheet, Sharon Reese and Tara Tafoya
Opell Creations – Kimberly Opell
Oz Patisserie Mobile Dessert Truck – Gary J. Ele
St. Clair Winery & Bistro – W. James Duke and Rosalind H. Duke
Theobroma Chocolatier – Chuck Weck

CNM Culinary Arts, sponsored by CNM Foundation – Kendra Hein, Marissa Medina and Lena Kassicieh
CNM Culinary Arts, sponsored by CNM Foundation – Michael Baker and Charity Teague
CNM Culinary Arts, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Harvey A. Franklin – Nakhestcia Franklin
CNM Culinary Arts, sponsored by Silver Country Band – Sherry L. Spencer-Spiros
Navajo Technical College – Ronaldo Benally

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation whose sole purpose is to further the cultural, educational and scientific programs and purposes of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. The Foundation will raise and manage funds for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science through a variety of defined fund raising and entrepreneurial activities, and will provide identified services to enhance the programs and mission of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science.