Giant peanut butter cup record attempt to benefit PAVE



Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- The world record for the largest peanut butter cup may soon belong to Vermont!

The Village Chocolate Shoppe, at 471 Main St., is planning to set the new record this evening with a chocolate and peanut butter creation that will stand six feet wide, with all proceeds to benefit the Project Against Violent Encounters.

Nick Monte, owner and operator of the Chocolate Shoppe along with his wife Judy, has been making chocolate for over 25 years. Their record-breaking attempt will begin at 5 p.m.

"We wanted to do something for the community, and we decided that making a giant peanut butter cup would be a good way to have people participate," said Monte.

If the weather is clear, plan to watch the classic dessert being assembled outside the storefront, which has been run by the Monte family for the past 11 years.

"I need to take advantage of the cool air to set my chocolate," said Monte, explaining that the sheer size of the candy will prevent it from hardening correctly indoors. "We would have to set up a lot of fans, so hopefully it's nice out."

After the chocolate is made and has cooled, pieces will be sold at $3 per slice, and help fund outreach at PAVE including educational and general programming, direct client services, hotline staffing and a small food pantry.

Working with victims of domestic violence and partner-abuse, PAVE provides services to approximately 500 individuals within the county annually.

"We can support our local people here in the community by doing little things when we can," said Nancy Feinberg, volunteer coordinator of the nonprofit. "I think it will be a fun activity to raise awareness and bring people in," said Feinberg.

Some 140 pounds of peanut butter filling will be mixed this evening, and weighed by "permanent, upstanding individuals within the community," as advised by officials with Guinness World Records - namely, members of the Select Board including Sharyn Brush and John McFadden.

"I don't know how much chocolate we're going to be using but my guess is 40 or 50 pounds," said Monte.

With a wooden template made and donated by Phil Frasier, of Frasier Construction, and ingredients purchased by the Monte family, the current record for the largest peanut butter cup is set to be broken.

"The largest current record we could find is only five pounds," said Monte. "I hope we set the world record, but at least it will be a fun thing for the people of Bennington."

After hosting events throughout the summer, the Chocolate Shoppe's record-breaking attempt will coincide with the final First Friday being held in downtown Bennington. Other events scheduled downtown will include live music by the Mo Rancourt Sextet, sidewalk chalk art, extended store hours, a gallery walk and Catamounts on the prowl.

The first National Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed in October 1987, and passed by U.S. Congress as commemorative legislation in 1989, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

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