In Celebration of Chocolate

February 7 - 9, 2020

Come as friends or bring your sweetie and fall deeper in love with chocolate during our annual In Celebration of Chocolate. A winter getaway has never tasted so good with a weekend full of food pairings, demonstrations, evening dinners and events. From savory to sweet and everything in between, don’t miss this cocoa-themed celebration of the world’s favorite dessert. Topping things off is the opportunity for guests to taste the signature and newest creations from KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates.

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Special thanks to our sponsors:

Guitard 2020 Belgioso 2020

Overnight Packages

Chocolate Indulgence

Two Nights, February 7–9, 2020. Tickets to multiple Celebration of Chocolate events and an in-room amenity.
The American Club starting at $446 per person
Inn on Woodlake starting at $379 per person

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Sweet Escape

One night, February 8, 2020. One ticket per adult to The Chocolate and Wine Dinner.
The American Club starting at $250 per person
Inn on Woodlake starting at $215 per person

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February 7

Chocolate Lover's Social

7–8:30pm – The Craverie Café in The Shops at Woodlake
Presenters: Crystal Thomas – Head Chocolatier, KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates
Ambur Dougherty – KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolate
Kickoff your Celebration of Chocolate weekend with an intimate social at the home of our KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates, the Craverie. Mingle with other chocolate lovers and meet the faces behind the decadent treats. Our head-chocolatier, Crystal Thomas, will greet you with an assortment of KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates, as well as some custom-created pieces to sample alongside select wines and savory bites. With a limited amount of spots available, you won’t want to miss this weekend’s sweet start.
Exclusive to guests of the Chocolate Indulgence overnight package

February 8

A Chocolatey Breakfast

9:30–10:30am – The Appley Theatre
Presenters: Crystal Thomas – Head Chocolatier, KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates
Matt Bauer – Executive Chef, The American Club®
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Who’s to say we can’t change it up and make it a little sweeter and tastier with chocolate? Crystal Thomas, head chocolatier at KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates, has created some sweet surprises, especially for this seminar.
In collaboration with Matt Bauer, executive chef at The American Club, who will also introduce you to some fun and tasty morning munchies, Crystal will serve up chocolates inspired by some popular sweet breakfast items. This is your chance to try unique chocolates not found on the shelves and make a perfect start to your day.
$35 – includes taxes and fees.
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Incredible Hot Chocolate

10am11am The American Club Thunder Bay
Presenter: Nicolas Blouin – Executive Pastry Chef, Destination Kohler
Hot chocolate, everybody’s favorite childhood drink, will become a work of art in this inspiring demonstration. Executive Pastry Chef Nicolas Blouin kicks off this demonstration with his famous flavor-filled hot chocolate sphere. You’ll ooh-ah as you watch it melt into a rich and creamy drink once it is dropped into a cup of hot milk. Following this show of culinary magic, you’ll indulge in a custom-created KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates piece that captures all the fun and delightful flavors of hot chocolate. Finally, Chef Nicholas will finish the hour by teaching you how to create a beautifully crafted mouthwatering hot chocolate dessert you’ll be able to re-create at home to impress family and friends.
$35 – includes taxes and fees.
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A Chocolate-Inspired Lunch

12:302pm – The American Club The Wisconsin Room
Presenters: Troy Unruh – Chef, The Wisconsin Room
Judd Adelman – State Manager, Kobrand Fine Wine & Spirits

If you adore chocolate and wine (and who doesn’t?), you know both cover a wide range of the taste spectrum. That's why they go so well together. In this luncheon created for the wine and chocolate lover, The Wisconsin Room Chef Troy Unruh will prepare three chocolate-inspired courses and pair with selected wines to play up the chocolate flavors in each course. Seating is limited for this event, so sign up early.
$60 – includes taxes and fees.
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A Modern Twist on Chocolate Cake

1–2pm The American Club Thunder Bay
Presenter: Travis JeskePastry Sous Chef, Destination Kohler
Chocolate cake is the decadent, timeless dessert favorite. For those of you who are looking to give the traditional chocolate cake a modern twist, this baking demonstration led by Travis Jeske, Pastry Sous Chef at Destination Kohler, is for you! Travis will let you in on the secret on how to create a beautiful, full-flavored chocolate cake that tastes dreamy and is eye-catching.  You will learn how to make the cake, jelly, mousse, whipped ganache, and glaze from scratch, and finally how to construct the cake in a way that will give it a modern look and will surely impress family and friends at your next gathering!
$35 – includes taxes and fees.
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Wisconsin's Favorite Trifecta : Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates, BelGioioso Cheese & Brews

2–3pm – The Appley Theatre
Crystal Thomas – Head Chocolatier, KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates
Sofia Auricchio Krans – Project Manager, BelGioioso Cheese

Get ready to have your senses exposed to a range of flavors and aromas in this unusual and surely mouthwatering pairing seminar. The trifecta of pairing chocolate, cheese and beer will create a heavenly experience you will not want to miss. Join our experts as they guide you through the delicate task of matching flavors and aromas of each beverage to the delicious flavors of KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates. 
$35– includes taxes and fees.
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Create with a Chocolatier: Truffles & Trade Secrets (Two-hour seminar; hands-on workshop)

3–5pm – The American Club Thunder Bay
Presenter: Ambur Dougherty – KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates
Ever wonder what happens when a chocolatier is inspired to create a new chocolate? Have some great ideas for a new flavor? Join Ambur Dougherty from Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates as she leads you through this 2-hour workshop on creating delectable chocolate truffles.  In this interactive seminar, you will rub elbows with Ambur as she teaches you some great chocolate skills and demonstrates how to make delectable chocolate truffles. You'll have the opportunity to share ideas and put your newly learned skills right to the test as you will be invited to create your own truffle to take home!
$50– includes taxes and fees.
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Flavored Spirits – A New Dessert Favorite

3–4pm – The Winery Bar
Presenters: Peter Kalleward – Mixologist, The American Club
Travis Jeske – Pastry Sous Chef, Destination Kohler
No matter what is served, dessert is arguably the best part of any dinner. In this fun and flavorful demonstration, we’ll show you that dessert can be enjoyed in different forms. Mixologist Peter Kalleward and Pastry Sous Chef Travis Jeske will highlight four flavored spirits in two different ways: as a tasty cocktail and in the form of a sweet dessert. Don’t miss this opportunity to treat yourself and sample the creations of the experts.
$35– includes taxes and fees.
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Raise a Glass to Chocolate

4–5pm – The Appley Theatre
Presenters: Crystal Thomas – Head Chocolatier, KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates
Judd Adelman – State Manager, Kobrand Fine Wine & Spirits
Don't fret, chocolate and wine lovers. We would not let the weekend go by without the most loved and sought-out chocolate pairing. Chocolatier Crystal Thomas and Judd Adelman, certified specialist of wine of Kobrand Fine Wine & Spirits, will explore how KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates are complemented by a variety of wines. Treat yourself to a tour of chocolates and wines that you will want to repeat over and over.
$35– includes taxes and fees.
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In Celebration of Chocolate Wine Dinner

Reception: 6:30pm, Dinner: 7–approximately 9pm – The Great Lakes Ballroom at The American Club
Lucas Oppeneer – Executive Banquet & Special Event Chef, Destination Kohler
Nicolas Blouin – Executive Pastry Chef, Destination Kohler
Matthew Bauer, Executive Chef, The American Club
Zeke Fitzgerald, Chef Tournant, Destination Kohler
Sofia Auricchio Krans – Project Manager, BelGioioso Cheese
Judd Adelman– State Manager, Kobrand Fine Wine & Spirits
Join us for a dining experience that will leave the chocolate-loving foodie inspired for days. This elegant, sweet-and-savory five-course dinner will treat guests to a one-of-a-kind chocolate-inspired menu with courses by BelGioioso Cheese, The American Club executive banquet chef, Lucas Oppeneer, and pastry chef, Nicolas Blouin. Wine pairings carefully selected by Judd Adelman, State Manager at Kobrand Fine Wine & Spirits, will complement each course. Note: The format of the dinner is assigned seating with 8-10 guests per table. Seating requests will be taken into consideration if noted with ticket purchase.
$145 – includes gratuity, taxes and fees.
Note: The format of the dinner is assigned seating with 8-10 guests per table. Seating requests will be taken into consideration if noted with the purchase of the ticket.
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February 9

Chocolate Lover's Brunch

9am–1pm – The Wisconsin Room
The traditional Sunday brunch gets a chocolaty makeover during the In Celebration of Chocolate weekend. Reservations required.
$48 – excludes gratuity, taxes and fees.

To make a reservation, call .

Featured Presenters

Judd Adelman

Judd Adelman

Do you remember your mom’s meatloaf or Judd Adelman’s personal favorite—tater tot casserole? Judd realized there was more in the food world besides these scrumptious weekly dishes. He started working at Blackwolf Run® and Whistling Straits® when he was still in high school and learned to appreciate different types and styles of food. His travels throughout Europe exposed him to different cuisines and wines, and upon returning he resumed his career in the hospitality industry. Judd started working at Edison Liquor (now Breakthru Beverage) in 2007 and held various positions within the company. While in the industry, Judd has received his certified specialist of spirits, certified specialist of wine and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level III accreditations. He moved to Kobrand Fine Wine & Spirits in 2018 to take on a different challenge in the beverage industry educating people about fine wines and spirits. In addition to loving food and wine, Judd enjoys crossing people over on the basketball hardwoods and watching and playing most any sport.


Matt Bauer

Matt Bauer

Executive Chef, Destination Kohler

Chef Matt Bauer was born and raised in the Village of Kohler, Wisconsin. Matt developed his love and passion for cooking at a very young age. He gained inspiration and developed his palette while tasting, eating, and watching his mom and dad cook family dinners, as well as, other meals throughout childhood.

Matt started in the industry at age 15 as a dishwasher at Cucina, the Italian restaurant of Destination Kohler. He worked through the ranks of that kitchen to become a lead cook by the time he graduated from high school in 2002. A colleague at Cucina was a former graduate of the California Culinary Academy and encouraged Matt to apply.

During his schooling in California, Matt completed an externship at a private restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii called 3660 On the Rise. There he learned about Pacific Rim cuisine and a true appreciation for fresh and raw seafood.

After his stint in Hawaii, Matt traveled back home to Kohler and took a position at The Immigrant Restaurant & Winery Bar. He worked under talented mentors for eight years before becoming the head chef of the restaurant in April 2011. With the goal to make The Immigrant Restaurant one of the top dining destinations in the Midwest, Matt utilized seasonal and fresh ingredients from all over the country and featured contemporary, global cuisine.

In 2013, Matt took on additional responsibility and accepted the role of Chef/Restaurant Manager for the Immigrant Restaurant. In this role, he focused on continuous improvement and maintaining five-star service standards in the Immigrant Restaurant and Winery Bar.

In February 2015, Matt was promoted to the Food and Beverage Manager at The American Club. He was responsible for overseeing the Immigrant Restaurant, Wisconsin Room, Horse & Plow, Greenhouse, and In-Room Dining at The American Club Hotel. In this role, he looked to maintain and develop all parts of the team to keep striving for innovation and excellence.

Matt played a huge role in the development and execution of the food and beverage services at the newest hotel offering, Lodge Kohler, in Green Bay, WI. Lodge Kohler offers premier dining on the top level of the hotel at Taverne in the Sky – overlooking the legendary Lambeau Field – and main level café, Leaps & Bounds.

Following the opening of Lodge Kohler in 2017, Matt became the Executive Chef of Destination Kohler, overseeing all kitchens and back of house areas across the resort.

At Destination Kohler, the mission of contributing to a higher level of gracious living for those who are touched by our products and services lives strong and is ingrained in its people.


Nicolas Blouin

Nicolas Blouin

Executive Pastry Chef, Destination Kohler

Raised in Toulouse, France, Chef Blouin began his pastry training when he was only 15 years old at a small bakery in his home town. He trained at the Pastry School of Muret and completed apprenticeships specializing in pastry and chocolate confections.

Chef Blouin moved to America and worked at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resort hotel under two-time world champion pastry chef Laurent Branlard. Eager to expand his knowledge, Chef Blouin returned to Europe and worked at Michelin-starred restaurants Le Richelieu in France and Didier de Courten in Switzerland.

In 2006 Chef Blouin returned to America to work at the Bellagio in Las Vegas under renowned Chef Jean-Philippe Maury. He served as a pastry chef at the Aria Resort & Casino, where he managed two locations of the Jean-Philippe Pâtisseries. In 2011 Chef Blouin joined Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in the role of pastry chef. In August 2017, he joined Kohler Co. as Head Pastry Chef for Destination Kohler.

With a passion for simple, strong and classic flavors, Chef Blouin strives to create desserts that encourage guests to explore exciting and unique new culinary delights. Featuring whimsical presentations, ingredients of the highest quality and bold colors, his creations offer unforgettable flavors ranging from light to decadent. His many popular desserts, including reimagined cheesecakes and soufflés, showcase his modern interpretation of classic desserts. In 2015 he won first place at the renowned Valrhona C3 Pastry Competition in New York, earning him the opportunity to represent North America in the International Chefs Congress.

“Creativity and invention are my favorite parts of the pastry industry,” said Chef Blouin. “Creating a dessert that is unique and that guests truly enjoy is the art of pastry at its best,” said Chef Blouin.

Chef Blouin continues to follow global pastry trends and French pastry chefs, including culinary icons Pierre Hermé and Christophe Michalak, who have had a profound influence on him both professionally and personally. Visionary creativity drives Chef Blouin to construct adventurous and delectable desserts for his guests at Destination Kohler.


Sofia Auricchio Krans

Sofia Auricchio Krans

Project Manager, BelGioioso Cheese Inc.

Born in Cremona, Italy and raised in Green Bay, WI in America’s Dairyland, Sofia was exposed to two different cultures.  Her family’s heritage is deeply rooted in Italian cheesemaking, dating back to 1877 when great-great-grandfather began producing provolone in San Giuseppe Vesuviano, Italy.

A century later in 1979, her father Errico Auricchio immigrated with his young family and began his American dream, BelGioioso Cheese in Denmark, WI.  BelGioioso prides itself in traditional artisan cheesemaking techniques married with modern technology. 

As a 5th generation cheesemaker, Sofia’s driving force is “doing what is best for creating the highest quality cheese”.  Although this statement seems simple, it guides the decision making process at BelGioioso.

Sofia is part of the design and build team for BelGioioso’s state-of-the-art facilities.  Her love of food began at a young age, when she was taught traditional focaccia and fresh pasta making, inspiring her joy of cooking.  She truly believes that food is more than fuel, providing nourishment that brings the family together.  BelGioioso Cheese is part of every meal, with a slice, shred or grate, adding JOY to family dinners.


Lucas Oppeneer

Lucas Oppeneer

Executive Banquet & Special Event Chef, Destination Kohler

A graduate of the American Culinary Federation Apprenticeship Program, Chef Oppeneer has 17 years of culinary experience. He has worked in every Kohler restaurant, including The Immigrant Restaurant, Cucina, The Wisconsin Room and the Horse & Plow, and has been involved in Kohler Food & Wine Experience event each year.

During his five years at The Immigrant Restaurant, he was part of the team that moved the restaurant from a three-star rating to four-star status. While head of the culinary team at the Horse & Plow, Chef Oppeneer developed a new menu for the remodeled restaurant featuring innovative pub fare with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. He oversaw events for the 2015 PGA Championship, Kohler Festival of Beer and the 2015 and 2016 Wisconsin Sports Awards events.

Chef Oppeneer left the American Club in June 2016 to lead food and beverage operations for Holy Family Memorial Hospital in Manitowoc where he improved patient and employee dining with healthy, fresh, local produce and also lead the community health goals team to promote healthy eating/nutrition and exercise. Chef Oppeneer rejoined Destination Kohler in September 2017 as Special Events Chef just in time to lead the team through this year’s Kohler Food & Wine Experience.


Crystal Thomas

Crystal Thomas

Head Chocolatier, KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates

Crystal Thomas, Head Chocolatier, graduated with honors from Charleston South Carolina at Johnson and Whales University with a degree in culinary and pastries/science. While attending college, she worked in the kitchen at the Charleston Grille, one of the top restaurants in South Carolina at the time.

Crystal became pastry chef in Portmeirion in North Wales, United Kingdom, and received her teaching degree in culinary and pastry arts in Wales. After graduating, she worked as an apprentice for 11 years before accepting the position of assistant chocolatier at Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates in 2018.