By: Jessica Cickay
Loosen those belts and bring out your baggiest t-shirts sweet freaks, it's time for the 2009 New England Dessert Showcase! Marilyn Monroe may have claimed that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but clearly she never met up with this girl--a dessert diva to the very last bite. At this year’s event, confectionery creators from around New England gathered to give out samples of their finest foods and promote why their products simply take the cake.
The first table was the well-established Brookline institution Party Favors, and if my stomach could smile it definitely would have donned a toothy grin. I plucked a chocolate cupcake off of their indigenous cupcake tree and the pile of rich vanilla buttercream serving as a base for an orange tinted buttercream wildflower made the airy cake heavier than any cupcake I’ve ever lifted—and I loved it! Party Favors also sliced up two flavors of their wedding cake—a moist chocolate crumb with chocolate mousse and vanilla buttercream and a dense yellow cake with white chocolate mousse and buttercream, both enveloped in a thick blanket of fondant.
Holy cupcake yet again at the next stop where caterer Lisa Dahl of Simply Dahlicious served up some chic cupcakes in patterned paper cups adorned with fresh flowers. Vanilla vanilla, chocolate vanilla, carrot cream cheese and orange vanilla were available to taste and boy did I taste! The carrot cupcake was spiced just right and the luscious vanilla buttercream on her vanilla cakes were like heaven on earth.
Sister Nadine’s swept eaters to the South with her southern style pies, breads and cobblers. Her signature sweet is the Bean Pie, a custard creation similar to pumpkin or sweet potato pie, but oh so unique. It comes in original, banana and blueberry flavors and as you eat the tender crust and silky center, you can feel the love behind Nadine’s baked goods.
For those dessert eaters who desire a more subtle sweetness to their treats, Caroline O’Garro of Delectable Desires has you covered. I sampled her deep chocolate cupcakes, made with a musky dark chocolate and topped with a swirl of mild light chocolate frosting that didn’t leave your teeth hanging on for dear life. Her chewy butterscotch cookies and miniature mango petit four—light and airy with a fresh fruit center—found a home in both my mouth and my purse (just had to save some for later – it was just so good!).
Fall came in the form of a cupcake this year at Biga Breads as their dark chocolate and golden vanilla cupcakes wore rich red, orange and yellow robes of icing. Fluffy cupcakes and full-bodied frosting would have satisfied my sweet tooth at this stop, but oh no—Kathy Crosby of Biga served up some more. Her fudgy brownies lathered with tangy cream cheese and a trail mix bar chock full of chunky oats, cranberries, walnuts and almonds bathed in honey caramel were the epitome of YUM in the land of baked goods.
Then there were the classic dessert staples like The Melting Pot, Finale and Godiva, along with independent drink makers like the Boston Common Coffee Co. This North End-based coffee company served up some freshly brewed beans to remind confection consumers that there really is no pairing like a warm brewed beverage and a little something sweet. With my last sip of coffee, I waddled out of the 2009 New England Dessert Showcase – happy as a clam and beached like a whale!
All proceeds from the 2009 New England Dessert Showcase benefit the Children's Trust Fund (CTF), Massachusetts' only statewide organization dedicated to strengthening families and preventing child abuse and neglect. For more information about the CTF and to learn about ways you can help, visit the Massachusetts Children's Trust Fund's website.