Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Chocolate for Choice

Every year as a fund raising event to help support a woman's right to choose, NARAL hosts a chocolate competition. And if we are talking about things women choose, chocolate is definitely on the list. What is more fitting than inviting Seattle's restaurants, bakeries, chocolateries, caterers, and passionate individuals to choose their favorite chocolate treat and dress it up for competition? Maybe shoes. I often choose shoes too.

The event was held at Safe-co field. Not actually on the field, but in a conference room in the building. The doors opened at 6 and people milled about, tasting, and stuffing take home boxes with their favorites. A celebrity panel of judges that included DJ Riz Rollins from KEXP, Sue McCown from Earth and Ocean, Holly Smith from Cafe Juanita, and King County Executive, the Honorable Ron Sims.

For the event I created a cake that captured what Rebekah Denn coined as my "deeper sense of Americana." It was a Peanut Butter chocolate Brownie Crunch Cake with Cocoa Nib Peanut Brittle. 7 layers make up the cake, 2 layers of brownie, 2 of milk chocolate ganache, 2 crunch layers, and a bittersweet chocolate glaze on the top. The crunch layers consisted of a salted peanut Daquoise, and a peanut butter ganache with rice crispies folded in. Unfortunately I didn't get a close up, but you can see the little flag of brittle poking out the top. The Cocoa nibs combined very well inside the peanut brittle, using a ratio of 3 parts peanut, 1 part nibs.

I can also say,with a rosy blush to my cheeks, that this cake won "Best of a restaurant; category one"

Here is Jessica from Yarrow Bay Grill's beautiful 4 layer Choctaw mousse cake. The cake to the right was donated for auction at the end of the night, but not before being mistaken for a large candy dish. Many a hand was slapped trying to sample the gold brushed hazelnuts and tiny hand rolled truffles that covered the top. This cake was deservedly the winner of "Best of a restaurant; category two"

Bakeries from around the city also participated. Below was my favorite of the evening, a bakery I discovered for the first time, North Hill Bakery. While you can see the cake looks beautiful, what you might fail to notice is the very high level of craftsmanship this cake embodies. The layers are perfectly even, the glaze is perfect, shiny and unblemished, and it tasted amazing.

Here is a Seattle favorite, Macrina featuring what looks very much like a Macrina cake. It was titled "For the love of chocolate" The glittery sugar coated fruit decorates most of their cakes, it is their signature in my mind and always reminds me of Christmas. Or more appropriately, my grandma's Christmas table. I think she has some frosted, glittery fruit left over from the 70's as a centerpiece when I was young. Obviously, this fruit is not left over from the 70's, it's quite nice actually. It's easy to do, if you are so inclined. Brush the fruit in corn syrup, cranberries and kumquats work well, and roll them in sugar and let them dry a bit.

Cupcake Royal donated these twin cupcakes, titled, "Auroelas" for auction while an assortment of their chocolate baby cakes were sampled by all. While I did take a cupcake home for my baby cake, I also stocked up on the stickers and pins with catchy phrases like, "sprinkle me bad", and "legalize frostitution".

Here is the winner in the visual category, Starry Nights catering. Their inspiration was from none other than Willie Wonka himself.

This traditional looking show piece was donated by Essential Baking Company, and served along side a banana split mousse bombe.

This show piece from Edible Art by Jim Carlin won my peoples choice vote in the visual category. It contained a huge amount of craftmanship, various mediums, and did a good job capturing the spirit of the event.


Blogger CookermansTy said...

Hehehe... "legalize Frostitution" is one of my favorites, it still makes me laugh every time I see it. I got a button at a food show we went to and have it pinned in my car. Too bad I missed the Chocolate for choice but one of the Rainier Club Staff was there. I think she said something about her white Chocolate Brownies?


March 17, 2006 9:18 PM  
Blogger Mouser said...

What an exciting event! and you won, Herzlichen Gl├╝ckwunsch (Congratulations)! Do you think you could send me one of those "Legalize frostitution" stickers?

March 20, 2006 3:16 AM  
Blogger shuna fish lydon said...

What a fabulous walk-through! Nice job to everyone. I too am a big fan of off-the-beaten-track daquoise. It is such an interesting vehicle and an interesting cake layer depending what it's between. I'm not one for the sculptures, I just want things to taste really good.

March 20, 2006 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

I'm glad you discovered North Hill Bakery. Very charming little shop and everything I've tried has been delicious. Their cakes for sale are more "homestyle" (in a good way) so it's interesting to see a more polished cake. I love their cookies and tarts (and best pumpkin pie, in the fall).

April 03, 2006 10:00 PM  
Anonymous French Chocolate Lover said...

Great post, thank you! Also, there is another wonderful article - about French chocolate. It has some history and even recommends the best wine/chocolate combinations, which I found to be absolutely delicious. It's for real gourmets!

August 21, 2007 10:33 PM  

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