This year at the annual Food Society dessert-tasting event, members were able to sample 8 epic desserts – hence the title, Big Dessert 8! Each of the unique desserts went well with our selection of Shaktea’s tea blends: Vanilla Honeybush, Hazelnut Chocolate Rooibos, Pear Scented Green Tea, and Organic Coconut Scented Black Tea. I especially liked the green tea because of its pleasant rosy scent and refreshing taste.
Attendees at the event were divided into 8 groups, and rotated to each dessert station. The first dessert I’ll cover is the Coffee Opera Cake from Faubourg. It had layers of coffee syrup-soaked almond sponge cake, dark chocolate ganache, and coffee buttercream. It was one of my favourite desserts of the night! As a big coffee fan, I liked the subtle scent and flavour of coffee in the cake, and although some members stated that it was too sweet, others found the sweetness level to be just right.
The next dessert was Chicago Cupcakes from Mancakes. This bakery is well-known for their creativity with cupcake flavours and toppings, and this particular flavour did not disappoint! It had a vanilla cake base filled with caramel, frosted with cheddar cheese-infused buttercream and caramel popcorn on top. I heard mixed opinions about this cupcake – some people found it to be nothing too out of the ordinary. I’m not a fan of caramel because it sometimes tends to be overly sweet, but I didn’t have a problem with this cupcake. Perhaps it was thanks to the cheddar cheese buttercream, but I felt that they really managed to balance out the sweetness and different flavours.
After that was Salted Caramel Apple Focaccia from Terra Breads. This wasn’t a conventional dessert in the sense that it was more savoury compared to the rest, but it was a welcome break for those who were beginning to feel queasy from sugar overload! It had artisan bread layered with apples, covered with a salted caramel glaze and topped with sesame seeds and fresh thyme. It struck a balance of mildly sweet and savoury – I could see myself eating it for breakfast, but it definitely provided an interesting twist to our dessert lineup.
Next up was the Mousse au Fromage Blanc from Thierry. This was the most popular one by far! It had fromage blanc mousse, lemon curd and cassis (blackcurrant) linzer. The flavour was quite subtle, with a fruity and sour note from the lemon and cassis. After the richness of chocolate desserts, this one really hit the spot with its light texture and refreshing flavour. It especially went well with the Pear Green Tea!
Then it was the Mille Feuille from Daniel le Chocolat Belge. This one was also one of my favourites! It had layers of caramelized puff pastry and smooth vanilla bean cream. This was a hit due to its lighter sweetness, compared to the richness of some of the other desserts. As a big fan of anything with puff pastry layers (like Napoleon cakes!), the Mille Feuille was excellent and I would definitely plan a trip to the bakery, which is conveniently close to UBC, to buy some for myself.
Having almost made a full circle around the stations, the next dessert was Pistachio Mini Macarons from Thomas Haas. It had pistachio-flavoured almond meringue sandwiching a layer of creamy pistachio ganache. They were bite-sized, but big enough to get a good sense of the flavour. As I’m normally impartial to macarons, I found these decent enough, but the pistachio flavour was very subtle. It was subtle enough that, if I had been given these macarons without knowing their flavour, I would never have guessed pistachio! Otherwise, they looked pretty adorable with their bright green colouring.
The next station provided Almond Sweetheart and Chocolate Oreo Mini Cream Puffs from Chewy Jr. – a relatively new cream puff business in Vancouver. They’re known for their signature “chewy” cream puffs, which have a crispy shell with a soft and chewy interior. The Almond Sweetheart ones were filled with vanilla custard and topped with icing and sliced almonds, while the Chocolate Oreo ones were filled with chocolate cream and topped with Oreo crumbs. I was definitely looking forward to trying these, but I was slightly disappointed at how tiny they were! I got a distinct marshmallow-y texture from them, but I feel I’d need to try their regular-sized puffs to get a better sense of their taste.
And last but not least, we had Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Cake from True Confections. It had layers of dark chocolate cake and Belgian milk chocolate, hazelnut liqueur, and hazelnuts. As a huge fan of both chocolate and hazelnuts, this cake was definitely to my liking. Some people found it to be extremely rich and sweet, which is certainly the case – hence a nice cup of tea is a must on the side!
All in all, we had a great time meeting new people and reconnecting with friends over sweets and delicious tea. I was glad to have this opportunity to try so many new desserts – I don’t think I would have ever discovered these otherwise!