A Night Out: Edible Fashions and Macaroons Galore at Sweet Charity

Last night, the basement ballroom of the Southwest waterfront’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel was transformed into a sweet tooth’s paradise. Pastry chefs proffered confections of every kind for Sweet Charity, an annual fundraiser to benefit the Heart of America foundation, which revitalizes libraries and collects books for DC’s at-risk children. The evening’s entertainment was a fashion show in which models—including two former Miss DCs and a few wives of Wizards players—sported outfits made of sugar and chocolate. Check out our slide show and read on for some of our favorite moments and tastes of the night:

Photos by Sara Levine and Marissa Conrad.

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Most in-vogue cookie: Macaroons. We could have created a whole slide show of these pretty little confections. They came in all sizes, flavors, and colors, both unadorned and with fillings. Our favorite? The lavish assortment from Fabrice Bendano of 1789 Restaurant, which featured bite-size cookies that were perfectly crispy and chewy, in flavors such as chocolate, hazelnut, and pistachio. All were tasty, but we were partial to the intensely chocolatey version coated with cocoa nibs. Just when we thought we had maxed out on chocolate, we went back for another.

Best savory snack
: With all of the sugar, the few stations with savory fare offered a bit of a respite. The filet mignon topped with Gorgonzola and fired under a blowtorch at Bobby Van’s table was cool, but an elegantly plated bite of achiote-scented salmon with fermented-yuca couscous, shrimp essence, and cream-cheese pearls from Morou Ouattara of Farrah Olivia made us yearn for an entrée-size version.

Best hidden eat: We thought we’d hit every table but then stumbled upon a small side room with a handful of other restaurants offering treats. We’re glad we did, or we’d have missed the sublimely sinful peanut-butter-and-banana “Elvis pie” from Boubker Errami of Overwood.

Coolest food fashion: The most impressive outfit on the runway in this fairy-tale-themed fashion show was the green dress worn by “Tinkerbell,” made entirely of edible sugar paste. Her wings were fashioned from gelatin, and even her shoes were coated in green sugar.

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