By Charly SHELTON
If you’ve ever had cake, you like cake. And pretty much everyone has had cake at some point. So when I say the L.A. Cookie Con and Sweets Show is for everyone, it really is for everyone. Whether you’re sugar-free, vegan, Paleo-diet or no restrictions, this show proved that there is a way to satisfy anybody’s sweet tooth.
Hosted last weekend at the L.A. Convention Center, the con featured cookies, cakes, fudge and other sweets as well as pickled tomatoes, jellies, jams, fruit butters, jerky and my new favorite thing in the world, bacon jerky. And then finally these two flavors met in the forms of chocolate covered bacon, bacon covered Rice Krispies, cupcake covered chocolate bacon bites … the list goes on and on until you pass out.
I am by no means a slender man. I enjoy good food and sweets as much as the next Hobbit but I had no idea that there were so many variations on what is basically three different foods – cookies, cakes and baked pastries. For example, the Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Cream Cakes are just what they sound like: chocolate cakes filled with cream. Like a Twinkie but with less shame. The Hapa Lani Bake Shack offered passionfruit biscotti, which changed my opinion of biscotti from fancy doorstop to delicious cookie. And so far as baked pastries go, you could do worse than Natas Pastries from Sherman Oaks. Using a 15th century recipe from a Portuguese monastery, they have brought back one of the most delicious pastries I’ve ever had in my life. Egg custard with cinnamon and sugar piled on top of flaky crust pastry, a small bite of this can make you go blind for just a second – they’re that good.
And then in another category all by itself, Maya Brigaderio offered Brazilian sweets described to me as a truffle without being dipped in chocolate. They offered samples of coconut and chocolate, both of which were like a marzipan paste but way better than you would expect.
The only downside I had at the convention was at one booth that had syrups and sprays. Syrups were for coffee and the sprays, the representative said, were edible sprays to accent a plate and were used in the finest restaurants to scent a dessert plate. With all the options laid before me in sample bottles, I chose the toasted coconut spray. The representative shook the bottle and sprayed it on to it Kleenex and handed it to me. It smelled like coconut, and she said it was edible so I licked it. My tongue lit up like the Fourth of July and then went numb. The representative started laughing and said, “It’s not that kind of edible.” I asked, “Well, what kind of edible is it?” She told me it was the kind of edible that wouldn’t make you really sick, but you probably shouldn’t eat it. As I pulled bits of tissue off my tongue, I realized I should probably have asked that question before I put the tissue in my mouth.
I was glad that this was one of the last booths I visited.
The show was a lot of fun and although it had adverse effects in my crusade to lose a bit of weight, it was totally worth it. I wish I could have sampled everything at the show but at about the midway point I was so full it was tough to walk.
The L.A. Cookie Con and Sweets Show was a great event and I can’t wait for next year. For more information on the Cookie Con and how to get tickets for next year, visit lacookiecon.com.