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Chocolate sundaes, cookies, pie holes for peace


Portland restaurants raise funds for Congo benefit in March; desserts abound

COURTESY: CARLY DIAZ - Nora Antene, pastry chef at Le Pigeon, will make a chocolate truffle ice cream sandwich throughout March to suppport the Chocolate for Congo benefit. A dollar from the sale of each featured chocolate dessert at 11 Portland bakeries and restaurants will support the cause: social and economic revitalization in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Eleven Portland-area bakeries and restaurants this month will participate in a global benefit for peace.

And all we have to do is eat chocolate.

It's called the 3rd annual Chocolate for Congo effort, benefitting the Eastern Congo Initiative — the first U.S. based advocacy and grantmaking initiative wholly focused on working with and for the people of Eastern Congo.

Founded by actor Ben Affleck in 2010, the Initiative provides grants and microfinancing for social and economic development to people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The region is a hotspot for Fair Trade Certified cocoa beans and organic cocoa beans — a high-yield crop that requires minimal replanting, prevents deforestation and provides a positive income source for women.

Seattle-based chocolate maker Theo Chocolate sources more than half of its cocoa supply from the Congo, working to improve the livelihood of 20,000 people living in the region.

Theo Chocolate will donate chocolate to the dessert makers for the benefit in partnership with the Portland-based nonprofit Never Again Coalition, which is working to end genocide and other violence in Sudan, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Chocolate lovers may dine at any of the participating locations in March, and a dollar from the sale of select chocolate desserts will be donated to Eastern Congo Initiative.

Participating restaurants include: Bar Avignon, Baker & Spice, The Cakery, Caffe Mingo, Coquine, DOC, Le Pigeon, Little Bird Bistro, Ox, Pie Spot and SE Wine Collective.

Among the mouth-watering confections that will be part of the fundraiser: a truffled chocolate chip ice cream sandwich with butterscotch pudding and fresh Oregon truffles at Le Pigeon; gooey chocolate chip cookies for two with sea salt caramel and cream at SE Wine Collective; mud pie sundaes at Bar Avignon; and milk chocolate chess pie holes at Pie Spot.

For more: easterncongo.org, theochocolate.com, neveragaincoalition.org.