I thought opening this year’s summer season with a bit of sporting news would do us all a world of good. Naturally, this sporting news has a confectionery tie-in.

Call me a “homer,” if you will, but in case you haven’t heard, the mighty Chicago Blackhawks have captured Lord Stanley’s Cup, the mega trophy that’s given to the winning team within the National Hockey League (NHL) here in North America.

As you can tell by the photo of Sal Ferrara, president and ceo of Forest Park, Ill.-based Ferrara Pan Candy Co., Lord Stasiu’s Cup (in case you weren’t aware, Chicago has a large Polish contingent) isn’t your normal drinking cup.

Originally donated by the Governor General of Canada, the Lord Stanley of Preston, in 1892 as an award for Canada’s top-ranking amateur ice hockey club, the Stanley Cup has grown in stature and size eventually becoming the NHL’s most sought-after prize.

Thus, it’s really an honor not only to hold up the cup, but to drink from it in one’s lifetime. For super hockey fan Ferrara, which had for years been an active sponsor of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls, getting on the ice with the team in Wachovia Center after it finished off the Philadelphia Flyers and then sipping champagne from it was truly a memorable occasion.

Actually, as Ferrara explains, that was only the beginning of the celebration, which continued for some time as he returned with the team to Chicago at 3:30 in the morning for a private get-together at Harry Caray’s restaurant in Rosemont. Celebrations tend to make a fellow hungry, so Ferrara then grabbed some breakfast at 7:30, only to rendezvous with the team and half a million other fans for a confetti shower parade on a double-decker bus later that morning.

And while my friends at the French Pastry School (FPS) in Chicago weren’t lucky enough to be on the ice after Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Kane scored the winning overtime goal, they do know something about icing.

Hence, to commemorate the grand occasion, Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F., co-founders of the school, created a chocolate replica of the Stanley Cup for the city.

The actual Stanley Cup, which is made of silver and nickel alloy, stands about three ft. tall and weighs approximately 35 lbs. The French Pastry School sculpture, made out of chocolate couverture and colored cocoa butter, reached 6 ft. and weighed nearly 50 lbs.

Of course, the chefs at FPS embellished the presentation a wee bit, adding a hockey stick as well as a giant hockey puck featuring the Blackhawks logo. As with the real cup, the chocolate reproduction includes the names of the players and coaches engraved on the side.

The sculpture took the chefs more than 150 hours to complete and included the collaboration of other instructors such as master cake artist Mark Seaman and pastry chef instructor Joshua Johnson. The chocolate replica then was delivered to City Hall and presented to “Hizzoner,” Mayor Richard M. Daley.

We all talk about how fun the confectionery industry is and can be. I thought it’d be appropriate to showcase how Chi-town’s best had some fun seizing the day and drinking from the cup, be it champagne or chocolate. Which, of course, leads me to all of youfutballfans (we still call it soccer here) and the ongoing drone ofvuvuzelasat the World Cup - enjoy the moment.

I anxiously await to hear your confectionery tie-ins from South Africa.