MSU MUSEUM’S BENEFIT HITS THE SWEET SPOT: Chocolate lovers indulge for a great cause


   EAST LANSING, MI – Tickets are now on sale for Michigan State University Museum’s Chocolate Party Benefit, presented by the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, Harrison Road, East Lansing, on Sunday, Feb. 26. In this popular community event, chocolate lovers indulge for a great cause — all to benefit the care and preservation of the MSU Museum’s natural history and cultural collections.
   The MSU Museum Chocolate Party Benefit is set for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center on the MSU campus, and features samples to savor from the area’s finest “chocolatiers.” Area chefs and caterers compete to create inspired, edible masterpieces featuring the key ingredient — chocolate.  Meanwhile, lucky visitors can indulge in all the taste-tempting chocolate creations: cakes, tortes, cheesecake, candy and fudge, fondued fruit, chocolate bread and more.
    The MSU Museum Chocolate Party Benefit is unique in that it gives the general public access to a competitive professional industry event. Competition entries take their inspiration from museum collections and this year’s “rain forest” theme.  Several of the museum’s artifacts and specimens from rain forest regions in Central and South America will also be on display at the event.
   At the same time, local restaurants, caterers, bake shops, candy makers and other vendors also share samples of their best sweet treats.  Participating chocolatiers from the area include:  Bake N’ Cakes, Caruso Candy Inc., Cookies by Design, Fabiano’s Homemade Candies, Golden Rose Restaurant, How Sweet It Is, International Bread Shop, the Chocolate Cove (inside the Peanut Gallery), a Piece O’ Cake, Puffin’s Pastry Shop/MSU Bakery and Wright Endings. (Vendors are subject to change.)
     Tickets are $30 for the general public and $25 for MSU Museum members.  A special “Premier Chocolatier” ticket for $75 offers an advance preview of Chocolate Party creations, a year-long MSU Museum membership and a behind-the-scenes tour of many of the museum’s collections later this spring. 
Tickets are available at:  Bake N’ Cakes, Caruso Candy Inc., Cookies by Design, Fabiano’s (three locations), Golden Rose Restaurant, How Sweet It Is, International Bread Co., the Peanut Gallery, the MSU Museum Store, and on-line at .
     Sponsors for this year’s event are Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, 99.1 WFMK, Anderson Travel, Uncle John’s Fruit House Winery, Michigan Brewing Company, Dobson Healthcare Services, Pastry 1, Cacao Noel and Paris Gourmet.
Reflections on collections
     The Chocolate Party benefits care and preservation of the extensive collections of the MSU Museum — which number nearly 1 million objects, artifacts and specimens housed in four buildings across the MSU campus.  Many date back to the museum’s founding in 1857.  Proper light and temperature control, space and security are important in helping ensure collections are preserved and accessible for future generations. 
     Collections are an irreplaceable world resource held in trust for the long-term benefit of society. Natural and cultural history collections are vital for research, education, interpretation, public enjoyment and inspiration, cultural identity, environmental protection, and advancement of scientific knowledge.
   The MSU Museum is Michigan’s natural history and culture museum and the state’s first Smithsonian Institution affiliate.  The museum features three floors of exhibits and special collections, and is located on West Circle Drive, next to Beaumont Tower on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing.  The Museum is open weekdays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sundays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.  Admission is free (donations are welcome) and the facility is accessible to persons with disabilities.  Contact (517) 355-2370 for more information.