Shortly after taking a bite from a cake cookie smothered in peanut butter, Dan Hutchcroft offered some solicited relationship advice.

He's been married to his wife, Sherri Hutchcroft, for 45 years.

"Help when you're told to help out. It's okay to run a vacuum," he said.

Sherri, who was enjoying the cookies alongside her husband at the Art Center Saturday afternoon, just laughed.

"And he's good at it," she said.

The longtime couple were sampling delectable treats at the annual Chocoholic Frolic in downtown Burlington, hopping from store to store to taste the variety. Their gentle verbal parries spoke to a lifetime of familiarity, but their affection toward each other suggested they started dating only a few months ago.

"We just got started, and (the treats) are wonderful so far," Sherri said.

"We have high expectations," Dan said.

"And we hope to finish it off with wine," Sherri added.

At least 18 downtown businesses offered chocolate treats during the the three-hour event, ranging from old-fashioned fudge to a "build-your-own-smores" workshop.

Donald Bickers III, 10, of Burlington loved it all. He just needed something to wash down the sticky chocolate.

"I actually had to sneak into the bathroom to drink out of the sink. The only thing you can drink at some places is hot chocolate," he said.

That didn't stop Bickers from trying everything he could. His dry mouth found respite in a cup of chocolate hazelnut tea from Nature's Corner. The tea also proved to be a favorite of his mother, Megan Teel.

"It's pretty good. It's not too sweet," she said.

Teel isn't the biggest chocolate fan and spent most of the afternoon watching her son indulge in a sugar overload. She still enjoyed herself, though, especially since she isn't that familiar with downtown Burlington.

"There's a lot of these business we've never been in, and it gets you to check out new stores. I didn't even know most of them existed," she said.

Shana Boulton of Burlington brought along her 13-year-old daughter, Alivia Williams, and the two had as much fun deciphering the treats as eating them. Alivia had not eaten a Cocopotamus (gluten-free truffle) before, but it matched the theme of the usual animal-shaped treats she enjoys.

"Chocolate and gluten-free gummy bears are my favorite," she said.

Her mother isn't totally averse to chocolate, though — as long as it's not too strong.

"My favorites were the cookies at the Art Center," Boulton said.

The event is hosted by Downtown Partners Inc.