You know what I love about food? Aside from the obvious enticing grandeur of the presentation when done right, and of course, the beckoning deliciousness of it all. I place my trust in food. It’s simple and intricate all at once. I adore the paradox. You eat it in seconds, and yet, cooking and baking at their best can arrest you in your tracks. Extraordinary eats? They can make you streamline your future. Truly. If you want to know why I genuinely not only enjoyed, but respected Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana’s Desserts First event, it is because this gratifying affair indulged the stomach, heart, and mind. Girl Scout Cookies can show you the world, Aladdin-style. If you missed out on Desserts First at the Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center last night, let me make your appetite dance in full-on Disney musical fashion.
Cellar Door Chocolates was our first sample at the event: Girl Scouts Shortbread Trifle Cookie with a complex caramel, all dipped in 55% dark chocolate adn sprinkled with Hawaiian black lava sea salt. Ooey, gooey, sticky, and a great intro to the event.
I had high expectations for Vincenzo's that were most definitely met. Girl Scouts Savannah Smiles Cookie with ricotta cheese, lemon, and white chocolate, that melted in your mouth like a blissful, billowy cloud. Vincenzo's, way to be the king of culinary textures. Bravo.
Everyone was enjoying sampling to their hearts' delight!
Hillbilly Tea had me saccharine-struck with one of my favorites of the evening that combined two of the greatest sweets of the world: Chai tea and Girl Scouts Samoas Cookies. The chefs used a Chai bar base with Chai tea caramel and marshmallow on top, with glorious Samoas embedded in these fantastic bites. Man, do I wish I had these to snack on all the time. My friend Erin and I were wide-eyed.
Chocolate Coconut Caramel Dobos, made with Samoas! Girl Scouts Samoas Cookies were a popular choice of the evening (and understandably so- love those the most!)
For me, Bake My Day won for charming decor.
The apron even had some bling. Approval points! You have to appreciate chefs with flair.
Made with Dulce de Leche Girl Scout Cookies, these truffles had cream cheese dipped in white chocolate with a praline on top.
Erin and I were fans of Ladyfingers Catering with Thank U Berry Munch Cookies, reconstructed dough, baked Brie pastry cream (very light, with just a hint). Chef Danilo Criollo spun some sugar and made a berry compote. He clearly understood the gastronomy behind gourmet cuisine.
Do-Si-Dos Chicken Tempura with a Samoas tropical sweet cheese salsa. Yum-tastic!
Congratulations to Chef Danilo Criollo of Ladyfingers Catering for winning for Best Appetizer! Colorful presentation and a delicious change. He even sprinkled some additional ingredients for a spectrum of hues.
Top left, a fun twist on an old classic: PB&J turned "Foie La La." Get the pun? It's a fun play on the word foie gras. (The English nerd in me was entertained.) They used Do-Si-Dos, foie gras, late harvest Jolie, and used port wine to make the gelatin. My friend Erin commented you could distinctly relish the port wine from the first bite. Bottom left, Fat Mint with red curry, lemongrass powder, Thai herb, and also foie gras. This was the most distinctive-tasting, original creation of the entire evening. It boggled our minds and our taste buds. We didn't know if we loved it, but Erin and I sure will remember this one. I value unique cuisine, and when science is implemented properly with the preparation of food, it really should be an experience. On the right was a play on my favorite Girl Scout Cookie: the Samoas, with Samoas ganache, toasted coconut, white chocolate and caramel, and dark chocolate mousse with Dippin' Dots dark chocolate ice cream. Erin and I were having so much fun sampling all of these beautifully created options.
Props to Feast Barbecue for really taking the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiative to heart with this poster scientific breakdown of their cooking process! Their goal was to deconstruct the Samoas cookie by using chocolate and toasted coconut. The Dippin' Dots elevated the awesomeness level several points. In their scientist chef's words, "This is ice cream of the future, but we are making it today." Want to know why? "Because ice cream makes everything better." I concur!
Erin and I liked the savory switch to The Monkey Wrench. Great take on cornbread and beans. It cannot be easy to make a salty dish still taste fantastic while using Girl Scout Cookies not as a gimmick, but to genuinely enhance the meal.
When I asked if The Monkey Wrench used this fun alcohol in their dish, they had the best response: "No, we just love Old Forrester."
Weikel Foods had both a Think Mint and coconut pie (which was our favorite of the two)...
...and Samoas brittle. I liked when booths had more than one option so they could really show off their science savvy! (And of course, our taste buds were not complaining in the least.)
Ok, Bill's Famous Cheese Spreads, what kind of witchcraft is this? I am not even a cheese person, and this was a favorite!!
I had the Bourbon Pecan Cheese Spread and Erin had one of the saltier ones, and we both were still thinking about how good this cheese was several booths later.
It was a pleasure meeting Board Member of Girl Scouts Kentuckiana Vivian Blade and Chief Development Officer/Chief of Marketing and Communications Jennifer Wilcox in person last night. It is commendable that they care so much about instilling new confidence into young girls who might ordinarily shy away from fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Every stride you assume in life can impact the entire curving channel that follows. But the cool thing is that it is never too late to alter your path. And, as Vivian and Jennifer understand, it is also never too early. Why stay stuck in the quicksand of timidity? Just because we might be initially uncomfortable with deviating? We need strong advances in those fields, and it is immensely creative and ingenious that Girl Scouts Cookies can be used as a tool to broaden perspectives.
Gary's On Spring incorporates science in a fun way with this alcoholic milkshake swirling caramel vodka, coconut rum, ice cream, chocolate, and cookie crumbles. Erin and I may or may not have downed this in its entirety.
Ice cream and cake, where the white-striped treats are made with Samoa, and the green-striped treats are made with Thin Mints.
john conti Coffee "captured [Erin's] heart." I typically like my coffee doctored up, but I even liked this so much, I carried it with me for many booths later. They also had Erin's favorite presentation!
Favorite status went to Q&A Sweet Treats (located in La Grange) for their Bacon Maple Do-Si-Do Bar. Congratulations on winning Best Dessert, you all! With a Do-Si-Do crust, caramelized bacon, nut, and maple topping, Erin and I fell head over heels for this sweet and salty perfection. They had me at bacon.
Thelma's Deli at the Galt House, your Shrimp Bellini was exploding with fishy flavor. You executed this supremely well with a Thank U Berry Munch Cookie, smoked salmon mousse, citrus poached salmon, and Savannah Smiles Cookie marmalade.
I was a bigger fan of the coffee than Erin, who prefers her coffee more straight-up. As someone who likes coffee best when it doesn't taste like coffee, this Dulce de Leche Coffee made with caramelized Dulce de Leche cookies and added condensed milk hit my sweet caffeine spot.
Oh, you know I had to get some Comfy Cow.
Ice cream bon bons!
"I think I might be your biggest fan," I told them. I got an exciting confirmation that I am! Besties for life.
D.D. Williamson was one of the most science-trendy, which was rather stellar. The way we see and smell all affect our perception of taste! Both of these drinks initially taste different, but guess what? They are actually the same! Science can be fun.
This is a fact that the Kentucky Science Center totally gets. I feel like they could take over the world with their debonair liquid nitrogen, that is so cold at -320 degrees Fahrenheit, it boils when it hits room temperature. Not only does it make marshmallows crunchy, but liquid nitrogen upon being poured out onto a table evaporates immediately. Science is owning its inherent chic and stylish nature!
The Chocolate Bar, satisfying our alchie inclinations.
Varanese set out to accomplish the great feat of melding all the Girl Scout Cookies together into one epic culinary experiment.
Two thumbs up, Varanese, and extra fun points for creativity.
Sadly, by the time we got to The Melting Pot, there was no chocolate left! But I bet that Samoas Cookie has a match-made in heaven with hot chocolate fondue.
Copper Cupcake, you and I are becoming fast pals! I was obsessed with this Chocolate and Samoa Caramel Corn! I clearly need to be visiting your store in-person and ordering everything off the menu. Loved this inventive choice. And I devoured the whole packet.
JCTC Culinary Program wowed both Erin and me with their Portuguese kale and light bean soup, complete with homemade sausage. As Erin said, "the good overpowers the spicy," which was meant as the sincerest compliment! I am wary of all things spicy, but this was so good, I just could not help myself.
By the time Erin and I reached Main Street Cafe, we were pretty full. So, it is a testament to the pure deliciousness of this luscious innovation that we dove into this dish.
Andalote pasta made with Lemonade Girl Scout Cookies. 60% cookies to 40% flour. The filling was made with Thank U Berry Munch Cookies. Garnished with lemon foam to heighten the taste, as well as berries. Everything is house made and they try to use as much local produce as they can.
There lies a science behind cooking and baking that too often people overlook for the sheer gobble-it-all-up factor. Every small step matters in revolutionizing the vision of what our future can be. It is notable to recognize even at this event how many chefs came together with a myriad of variables to concoct defining recipes. It is essential that we do not just nod along at science like an acquaintance, but embrace it fully. As I mentioned in my preview, let's try and savor science for a change! It does not have to be intimidating. As the Girl Scouts' Science Technology Engineering and Math initiative proves, it is time to amend our perceptions. (And relish the end results down to every last sweet and salty crumb.)
Top Photo: Courtesy of Copper Cupcake's facebook page; All Other Photos: Courtesy of Julie Lamb