By Kalah Amash – Collegiate Staff
Thirteen bakeries, restaurants and pastry shops competed Feb. 12 at the Amway Grand Plaza for the title of “Best Dessert of Grand Rapids.” This was the third annual Dessert Wars, which was hosted by Channel 95.7 and Hobart. Proceeds from the event went to Kid’s Food Basket, an organization fighting child hunger in the community.
Attendees were allotted 15 sample tickets as they were admitted, and were then able to vote for their favorite dessert. The first place winner for People’s Choice was Robinette’s Apple Haus and Winery.
“We’re very excited,” said owner Karey Robinette. “I think everybody seemed to really enjoy our new flavors of donuts.”
Established in 1911, Robinette’s sells donut flavors other than cinnamon and sugar. Donut flavors for that night included an apple cider donut with a cider shooter, maple bacon, red velvet, black forest, coconut almond and several other options.
This was Robinette’s second year competing in Dessert Wars.
“We’ve had so much fun,” Robinette said. “It’s for such a great cause.”
From Owosso, Michigan, Town to Town Gourmet Pastries took first place for Judge’s Choice. This category was judged based on creativity, presentation, taste and texture. Town to Town featured its Polish cream horns for the event.
“We’re blown away,” said owner Susan Oginsky. “We prepared about 1,900 of them. They’re a delicate, crunchy crust with a smooth cream in the middle. Preparing the whole dessert takes us two days.”
Oginsky and her husband have been making cream horns for 25 years. Along with their business in Owosso, the cream horns are now being sold at Sobie Meats, located at 3450 Remembrance Rd. NW in Walker.
Sprinkles Donut Shop came in second place for People’s Choice, and Twisted Rooster and Melting Pot tied for third place. Love’s Ice Cream won second place for Judge’s Choice, and the third place winner was Robinette’s.
Massive crowds of people maneuvered their way through the Amway’s Ambassador Ballroom to sample the desserts offered by this year’s competitors.
“It’s always a great feeling when you see a lot of people in one room supporting local restaurants and bakeries as well as (the proceeds) going to a good cause,” said Angela Paasche, Live Events Manager at Townsquare Media, and organizer of Dessert Wars.
This year, organizers were expecting a lot of people to attend. “We’re hoping for about 2,500. That’s where we were at last year, so we’d love to keep it consistent if not beat that,” added Paasche.
Event organizers were hoping to attract 2,500 peeople, but the crowds drew criticism from some attendees.
“It’s very chaotic. There should be bank ropes for the lines,” said Ben Kramer, 29 of Kentwood. “I have no idea where people’s stations are. I’m just walking around and pushing through.”
Stations were set up all along the walls of the ballroom. The other participants were Cygnus 27, Furniture City Creamery, Grand Cakes, Great Harvest Bread Co., JK’s Bakehouse & Deli, Sara’s Sweets Bakery, and Scrumptious Cakes and Sweetery.