Thursday, January 27, 2011

Penn Gastronomy's Sugar High Marathon

Despite the chilly 22°F weather on Sunday afternoon, Penn foodies bundled up and ventured out to Huntsman Hall to get sugar high at Penn Gastronomy’s Sugar High Marathon! The event drew over 100 dessert connoisseurs to sample delicious treats and receive exclusive coupons. Sugar Philly, Penn’s dessert food truck located just north of 38th and Walnut, co-sponsored the event in celebration of its one-year anniversary.

The event featured a Dessert Showdown where fifteen participants showcased their amazing baking talents. From basil-infused lemon bars with a cream cheese drizzle to Oreo truffles, red velvet cupcakes to towers of caramelized whiskey apples, all desserts emphasized incredible flavors and artistic culinary expression. Sugar Philly jumped in on the baking action as well, creating sweet dulce de leche Linzer cookies dusted with powdered sugar. Attendees were able to taste as many of the desserts as they wanted with an opportunity to vote for their favorite sweet treat. Everyone who voted received a special “Buy One, Get One Free” coupon to use at Sugar Philly.

So who took the cake? According to the results, it seems like people had pineapple on their minds. The judges chose a delectable Golden Pineapple Custard (made by Allison Pearce and Keelen Collins) as the grand prize winner, while the audience’s favorite dessert—Petite Pineapple Glace with Coconut-Almond Cake and Chai-Citrus Glaze (made by Dominique Clarke, Chris Chan, and Brian Collopy)—was the runner up. Pearce and Collins’s fantastic reward was to have their dessert featured on Sugar Philly’s menu! Both teams won an exclusive cooking lesson with Sugar Philly’s chef Dan Tang, as well as a complimentary dessert outing.

As a participant (I entered éclairs topped with a chocolate ganache and filled with homemade whipped cream), I relished the entire experience. At the event, I truly enjoyed sampling everyone’s creations and seeing their baking prowess shine. The true fun, however, was during the preparation stage. Whether I was melting the silky chocolate over a makeshift double boiler, whipping the cream filling by hand (since I lacked an electric mixer) with constant support from my friends, or smelling the intoxicating scent of choux pastry that emanated from the oven, I shared lots of laughs and great memories. Cooking is a communal experience, and PGC’s Sugar High Marathon truly celebrated that concept.

Check out more photos from the event here and the Daily Pennsylvanian’s video footage here!

Photos courtesy of Penn Gastronomy.

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