No one really covers the desserts at Taste Washington, so this year I am!
Because even a dessert geek gets amused at the idea of watching Tom Douglas make teeny tiny crab cakes.
I was media this year, which also gave the benefit of VIP access. (Seriously, that extra hour is critical. Thank you Washington Wine Commission for hosting me!)
For those of you who haven’t been before, let me set the stage. As soon as you walk in, you see rows and rows of wine and cheese, bites as far as the eye can see. To the right, more vendors – and a few food trucks. To the left side are most of the desserts, ready for when you need a sweet break. (And coffee, in case what you really need is caffeine.) Now you have 4-5 hours to eat and drink your way through it all – and you’ll do the same thing tomorrow if you booked a weekend pass. You know you won’t try everything, but you also know you’ll have a great time exploring it all. That is Taste Washington.
The dessert space had three different truffle vendors, two ice creams, a cheesecake, doughnuts, coffee, and dessert wine. (The third ice cream maker was to the side, doing its thing.)
A few things really stood out this year. First, the custom ice cream. The fact that you could not only get liquid nitrogen ice cream to order, but grab ingredients for other booths and make custom creations was incredibly special.
Next, the fact that it was basically Truffle Central 2017. We’re talking three truffle vendors ranging from traditional but fun (Dolcetta) to really ridiculous (Intrigue). And Evolve had truffle logs with flavors like guava, in case you hadn’t had enough ganache goodness. And Scarlatta was selling truffles in addition to tasting their sauces, so you pretty much could get your chocolate fill.
Here are some of my top bites from 2017:
- The cookies and cream mini doughnuts from Frost desserts, which tasted like childhood birthday parties
- Esca Catering’s Noah’s Pudding, with beans and cinnamon, subtly sweet and probably the most unique dessert of the event
- The adorable Island Treats NW’s entire lineup
- Tom Douglas had a super smooth passion fruit mousse tart (check it out above), but you could only get that if you had access to their VIP area
Here are my hopes for 2018:
- Lighter bites. I wanted something delicate to eat alongside all the heavy bites. Crepes with whipped cream and fruit, or even lime and ginger syrup would have been awesome. Something cheery that you could pair with a sparkling or riesling. (Caravan Crepes would rock this.) I did miss out on RN74’s lemon cake, but more light sweets would be lovely.
- Asian desserts. Could we have Hood Famous? What about dessert lumpia or turon? Or shave ice? Oh my goodness shave ice would be amazing. And mochi is always welcome. I just wanted to see a greater range of flavors from what diversity Seattle has to offer.
- Allergy friendly bites. Most things had dairy, same to gluten, and in the lighting allergy notices were hard to spot. (I think Noah’s Pudding and the prosecco sorbet were the lone dairy free items.) Having clear options means everyone can try something.
This is the lighting in the dessert space. It was way worse than most of the areas, so yeah, finding info was fun.
Honestly, my big thing is I really wish they offered a Designated Driver badge. It’s not cheap to go (we’re talking ~$200 for a single weekend VIP pass), but for a food geek like me who doesn’t drink much I’d love the chance to bring friends to go around and nibble. Because there are some epic bites, especially in the savory stuff, and I wish I could make a weekend of nibbles.
The moral here: if you can, go, eat all the tasty things, be in a food and wine coma for days. It’s an experience we’ll all hopefully get to have at least once.
I was hosted as media for Taste Washington, which gave me a press pass for Saturday of the event. All opinions are my own.