I recently attended Crain’s Made in New York, an event which connects the small business food and beverage community with retailers and buyers. As a dessert glutton, I think I fall into the “buyer” category.
These are some of the dessert-related exhibitors:
Broadway Baker – Baked goods are produced in small batches using recipes that have been in the family for three generations. Broadway Baker’s offerings include “Major Brownies,” “Grandma’s Mix-Up Bars” (chocolate, coconut, crushed pecans atop a graham cracker crust, drizzled with a sweet cream glaze), chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and more. A portion of the sales of the treats are donated to charities. Also see the Dessert Surveillance posting on Broadway Baker.
Brooklyn Cupcake – Started by two sisters, along with help from a cousin, Brooklyn Cupcake’s menu reflects the founders’ Puerto Rican and Italian heritage. Cupcake flavors include: Dulce de Leche, Flan de Queso (vanilla cake with homemade flan), Guava con Queso (yellow cake with guava paste and guava jelly), Rainbow Cookie (inspired by classic Italian rainbow cookies), as well as more traditional Cupcake flavors.
Liddabit Sweets – Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels and Beer & Pretzel Caramels are this Brooklyn confectioner’s two most popular products. The kick in the Beer Caramels comes from Brooklyn Brewery’s Brown Ale and East India Pale Ale. And let’s not forget about Candy Bars. “The King” – a milk chocolate covered peanut butter and banana ganache bar is named after, you guessed it, Elvis.
Make My Cake – Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and pies are produced using family recipes that combine the southern traditions of Mississippi and Alabama along with Harlem soul. Cake flavors include Red Velvet, Butter, Carrot Cake, Double Chocolate, Caramel, Coconut Pineapple, Lemon Butter, Strawberry Layer, and German Chocolate Throwdown.
Brooklyn-based Ovenly incorporates interesting flavor combinations in its baked goods. Ovenly’s offerings include Honey Blondies, Montego Bay Bars (date + cocoa), Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pistachio Agave Cookies, Carrot + Honey Buttercream Cupcakes, Cornflake Blueberry Muffins, Cinnamon Nutella Quick Bread, shortbread with espresso and burnt sugar and more. A number of these items are vegan, wheat-free, or gluten-free.
In addition to looking at (and tasting) exhibitors’ offerings, you could also attend seminars. I attended a very interesting one, which profiled the Specialty Food Consumer. Here’s a very small sampling of what Denise Purcell, Editor/Senior Director, Content Development, of the Specialty Food Association, reported on:
■ Chocolate, Olive Oil & Other Specialty Oils, and Cheese are the top three categories of specialty foods purchased. Frozen Desserts/Ice Cream took 6th place while 9th place was taken by Bread & Baked Goods.
■ 18 to 24 year olds are the group most likely to use Chocolate, Salty Snacks, Frozen Desserts, and other Packaged, Ready-to-Eat Food and Beverages
■ Taste is consistently the No. 1 reason for trying a new product
■ Slightly less than one-half (49%) of specialty food consumers purchase food online . This drops to 14% when looking at online sales of Chocolate.
I’m glad I live in an area where so many dessert entrepreneurs are turning out their very tasty treats!