The Great American Dessert Experience hit Atlanta this past week. And they promised coffee, tea, and dessert. So you know damn well we were there. Like we could stay away. There were dessert demonstrations, competitions, and more…but we wanted to check out the wares of the exhibitors. Here’s some highlights:
The best coffee we had while we were there was from Zoka, a coffee roaster/retailer/wholesaler out of Seattle. They made us macchiatos in the booth and they were damn fine. But even moreso than that, these guys facilitate the opening of independent coffee stores. They can hook you up with barista training, equipment, and of course, coffee. And they have a focus on comfy atmosphere, as made evident by their booth, which was one of the most professional looking there. And the most inviting. We could use these guys in the Atlanta area, they’re welcome back anytime. Their site is here.
Wine Cellar Sorbets had an interesting array of products. Firstâ€¦well, you can guess what came first: their namesake. We tried out a Pinot Noir sorbet and it was excellent. They also have other variations, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangria Rojo and Champagne. They also have the Van Gogh line of gourmet sorbets, and they’re all caffeinated. Because when I think of Van Gogh, I think ofâ€¦well, never mind, I don’t know the connection, but that hardly matters. You could have called the line of sorbets Steve and I wouldn’t have cared. Tried the Espresso Chip and it was exceptionally tasty. Dark chocolate bits, smooth taste of coffee (surprisingly smooth) all in a sorbet. Nicely done. Their website is here.
Probably the single most evil thing we tried was an ice cream treat from Blue Bunny. They sell these things to restaurants. We sampled a Double Fudge Frenzy. Chocolate ice cream, brownies, chocolate mousse, chocolate fudge sauce, and bittersweet brownie bits. It’s the sort of dessert you taste and it begins to beat you about the head and shoulders, albeit not in an unpleasant way. It’s the sort of dessert you’d have at a restaurant have to goad yourself and the members of your party into finishing. Just lethally rich. The person at the booth did tell us that they have a tendency to get split into half and served that way to begin with. Check out their official site.
And the coolest guy to talk to was Stewart at The Caffeine Gourmet. And not because his story about how he became a coffee roaster supplying single origin and CafÃ© De Los Santos blends and whatnot to wholesalers is incredibly entertaining. But because he does offer Rocket Jock Intergalactic Coffee. It’s got the punch of something like Shock Coffee, but from somebody running a store or coffee shop, he offers much smaller quantities that you can start with. And I must say, it’s not bad coffee. I normally brew mine so that you can strip paint off housesâ€¦at fifty paces. So the brew they had there wasn’t as strong taste-wise as I normally go for. But I am inhuman when it comes to coffee consumption and am not a reliable source for coffee strength. If you want to do business with good folks who are flexible and fun, then I would suggest checking out their website.
Most unique was the Spice Rack Chocolates booth. They’ve got dark chocolates that have spices in them, if you weren’t able to figure that out for yourself. We tried the Fresh Lemon with Sweet Basil, which was a nice blend. They also hadâ€”and this was my favorite thereâ€”a Spicy Cayenne version. This was impressive. They guy at the booth explained that the spices sort of bloom in your mouth. And it did. You got chocolate, then a nice burst of burn. This is part of their En Fuego Collection, which also features stuff like Japanese Wasabi, Crushed Thai Chilies, and Fiery African Cinnamon. I will definitely be checking out more of their stuff. Find them here. (Warning: autoplay video.)
Primo Supplies was on hand with their Chocolate Shot Machine, which is exactly what it says it is: a European style drinking chocolate dispenser. Granted, this place sells to restaurants and such, so you’d have to be a serious chocofiend to want one on your counter, but for what it was, it was okay. I think you could probably put some seriously high grade chocolate in there and go to town on it. Their website is here.
There were some very dangerous places there, that got me thinking about interesting ways to promote Needcoffee. For example, American Chocolate Designs creates chocolate dessert wafersâ€¦that you can slap messages or logos on. I’m thinking of a truffle with Chazz’ face on it. They showed us one that had been created with six colors. Kinda crazy. Actually, their prices were really reasonable, in my opinion, so if you’re trying to do some sort of promotional thing that includes chocolate (and everyone should), then check them out. They also do just standard designs and such that can just be artsy. So bonus.
Innovated Products Manufacturing was selling Coffee Straws and Tea Straws. It’s a glass straw. There’s a either a glass strainer on the end (for the tea kind) or a mini French press filter (for the coffee kind). You put coffee, tea, herbs, what have you into a mug. You add hot water. You sip through the wand and done, coffee or tea is ready. I suppose if you absolutely positively have to get your drink that moment, you can try it. Their website is here, the “Wisdom Wands” site is here.
The Marich Confectionary Company was represented there and damn, friends. They’ve got some fine stuff. Not just chocolate covered espresso beans (although those were tasty as well), but also White Chocolate Gingerbread (which are gingerbread cookie bits marbled with white and dark chocolate). It’s like a sugar spike between the eyes. Brilliant. We also tried their English Toffee Caramels and the Triple Chocolate Toffees. These were awesome. You can find them online at Marich.com.
Bedazzle My Bonbons only sounds like it’s a euphemism. Basically it’s chocolate truffles covered in edible glitter. I’m sure this would be good for people who like things that glitter a lot. Or for very small discos. I thought the chocolate was good but the glitter wasn’t for me. It’s not a taste thing but a texture thing. It was like sampling something that had sand on it. Againâ€”the glitter didn’t taste badâ€¦from what I can tell, it didn’t have a taste. It could just be me. Check out their official site.
For more information on The Great American Dessert Experience,
check out their official website. Update: Alas, it appears to be no more.