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Death by Chocolate aids Girl Scouts

A chocolate war will start tonight in Myrtle Beach when eight professionals and two amateurs battle it out for the good of Girl Scouts.

Death by Chocolate: A Chocolate and Champagne Affair will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Sands Resorts' Ocean Dunes Resort and Villas in Myrtle Beach.

The fundraiser is for the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina, which serves girls and adults in 21 counties, including Horry and Georgetown.

Executive Chef Eric Masson, who owns and operates the Brentwood Restaurant & Wine Bar in Little River with his wife, Kim, is making one of his signature desserts for the competition - chocolate fondant.

"It's scrumptious," he said. "It is a dessert I have been making for more than 20 years."

Masson said chocolate is an ultimate pleasure that few can deny.

"Chocolate is my passion," he said. "You can't deny the quality of it, especially when we talk about dark chocolate. It gives you many different pleasures. It is actually very natural - coming straight from the cocoa bean - and it is very healthy."

In addition to being a chocolate lover, Masson said he wanted to support the event because his 7-year-old daughter, Jolee, is a Girl Scout.

"The friendship and discovery you find is worth it," said Masson, a former Boy Scout who will also make chocolate creme brulee for the event. "There's a little discipline to it. It is an adventure. It's exciting, and you have experiences that you remember for the rest of your life."

Kristen Jablon, junior pastry chef at Croissants Bistro & Bakery, used to be a Brownie and is excited about tonight's competition.

"Who doesn't like chocolate?" Jablon said. "It's delicious. It goes with almost everything. You can put in a cake or give it to a friend to say, 'I love you.'"

Jablon said Croissants will be making an assorted mix of cake truffles, including those made with double chocolate, chocolate mint and chocolate raspberry.

Cakes by the Sea in Longs will be bringing Boston creme pie cupcakes to the showdown, which will feature award winners with decorative pie platters.

The winning categories are: Best Overall, Most Creative, People's Choice, Best Amateur and Best Presentation.

"We are so grateful to our sponsors, chefs, silent auction donors and everyone working to support this event," said Sarah Thomas, a board member of the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina and chairwoman of the Death by Chocolate committee. "We couldn't have this event without them."

Thomas said she hopes people's weakness for chocolate sweetness will bring folks out to support the event.

"Everything we do is centered on building the girls' courage, character and confidence," Thomas said. "No matter what we do, we keep that in mind."