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Baron chocolate makers have sweet spot for Detroit

“We’re just a couple guys from the east side of Detroit,” says Chris Mattina Sr., vice president of Baron Chocolatier, sort of sheepishly as he observes the high-energy crowd interacting with his staff in a designated area at the Sweets and Snacks Expo this week in Chicago. More than 15,000 professionals from 90 countries converged on McCormick Place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, where three acres of candy and snacks where exhibited. But not only did Mattina dazzle them with exclusive wine and chocolate tastings conducted by Baron Chocolatier’s executive chef, Robert Nahra of Grosse Pointe, he and his team were also involved with the launch of tennis star MariaSharapova’s chocolate line for her candy company, Sugarpova.

“I’ve always had a sweet tooth,” explains Sharapova, who also attended the expo and talked about starting her candy company with gummies about three years ago. “We started off very well with the gummies and chocolate seemed like a natural evolution, so we started working with Baron. We loved their philosophy and approach to healthy eating.” Baron’s chocolate, according to Mattina, is not only delicious, but is as healthy as chocolate can be. “It is non-GMO, Halal and Kosher,” he says. In addition to successfully selling healthy, modestly priced chocolate worldwide and launching Sharapova’s chocolate line, Mattina also talked about his hopes to build a chocolate factory in downtown Detroit in the very near future, bringing along about 120 candy-making jobs. Now that’s sweet!

Right Productions celebrates 20 years

The Right Productions, the go-to company for exceptional entertainment in Detroit, celebrated its 20th anniversary last week with a spectacular soiree on the stage at Chene Park, which the company has managed and operated for more than a decade. There were about 200 guests — from bankers to bartenders — who enjoyed dancing, cocktails, food (from Guerrilla Food), entertainment from the Infatuations and DJ Emmitt, all under theatrical lighting at the river’s edge. “We’re a family business that began in a home office in 1996,” recalls family matriarch Shahida Mausi-Johnson, who is also the company’s president. “Over the years, sons Dorian, Sulaiman, Rashid and Malik Mausi have all joined the company that now employs over 300 people annually.” The Right Productions is noted as one of the top production companies in the city, providing entertainment booking and production for such clients as MGM Grand Detroit Casino, Greektown Casino, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival-Movement and Super Bowl XL Winter Blast 2006.

MOCAD’s dinner series kicking into gear

MOCAD’s annual Interchange Art + Dinner Series summer fundraiser is surely a collection of some of the coolest parties of the year. For it, Detroit’s most avid art collectors and supporters open their homes for a range of exclusive evenings combing food, drink and art. The series kicks off this year on Thursday as the contemporary Los Angeles-based art gallery Moran Bondaroff makes its Detroit debut, cleverly housed in an artfully renovated, abandoned church in the Boston-Edison neighborhood. “Generous thanks to Moran and Bondaroff for hosting MOCAD at their first patron party,” says Elysia Borowy-Reeder, executive director. “MOCAD plays a significant role in its community and for placing importance on issues, creative spaces, and artists that would otherwise go unnoticed.”

On view at the party will be the exhibition “War Games,” curated by Benjamin Godsill, as Miami-based chef Michael Bertran, from Ariete, creates an extraordinary 10-course meal for the occasion. The Moran Bondaroff Interchange Launch is open to 100 guests for $250 per person, benefiting MOCAD. For information, go to Interchange 2016 at mocadetroit.org or call (313) 832-6622.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of thesocialmetro.com, and is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador.

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