This past week I was invited to attend the Stow Public Library Dessert Extravaganza with some friends who live in this neck of the woods. I say that simply because it is a real hike for me to get to Stow… about 45 minutes without traffic. In my opinion, it was worth the drive. This was a really well put together event and something that any lover of all things sweet should not miss in the future. Even if you have to drive over the river and through the woods to get there.
In its fifth year, the Dessert Extravaganza showcased about fifteen local restaurants and bakeries. From cakes and cookies to some really incredible ice cream, it was hard to not walk away happy. It’s dessert, you’ve just gotta smile when you try this stuff. The highlight of my night were the cake balls (I’m sure they had a nicer name than that, but I don’t remember what it was… sorry Linda) from Linda’s Kitchen. You might ask what a cake ball is exactly, so I took a picture. Basically, they are little globes of decadent chocolate cake covered in some seriously good chocolate. Maybe it was called a cake bon-bon. That sounds better than cake balls, but you get the picture…
There were other delightful desserts there as well including a table full of dessert bars and another with deep fried cheesecake rolls with different fruits. I’ve never had that before and it was pretty good. One of my favorite stops was Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream. They had scoops of ice cream on a stick, dipped in dark chocolate. I tried the peanut butter which was smooth and velvety with just right amount of peanut butter flavor. With the dark chocolate, it was just delicious.
As with any dessert, it is always left to personal preference whether it tastes good or not. In my opinion, there were quite a few bombs at this event. Some desserts were just so rich that more than a bite was too much and the rest hit the trash. I’m all for richness, but there is a lot to be said about restraint in composing any dish. Other desserts were just downright boring. And that’s coming from a guy who loves dessert. If you’re going to make it to bring to a Dessert Extravaganza, it should be inspired somehow.
What did surprise me a little were the tables that were staffed by library employees rather than the people who made the dessert. Most of the desserts were provided by small businesses and it is a great way to get to know your customers and hear some feedback about your product. Any questions I had at these tables were met with shrugged shoulders and an explanation that they didn’t really know much about the product. Surprising and more than a little disappointing.
Also on the agenda for the evening was a silent auction. Perhaps I lived a sheltered life, but this was my first silent auction. My friend David explained the concept to me as we walked around the room looking at baskets filled with different items. I picked out a hand turned bowl and plate and then stood next to it until the auction ended, boxing people out. I didn’t really do that, but did end up winning that auction and walking away with some pretty cool gear.
All told, my expectations were exceeded at this event. The Stow Public Library really knows how to throw down. It makes me want to check out my local library to see what they are doing. I live in a fairly small town and haven’t heard of any events like this. What’s up with that? In any event, I’ll be buying my ticket early for the 2011 Dessert Extravaganza.