After last night's Burger Bash and sodium overload, our sweet tooth was heavily aching. Faith (and smart planning) would have it that just as Burger Bash was ending, a Splendid Ice Cream Affair was commencing right across the street at the Gale's rooftop pool.
Hosted by award-winning cookbook author and ice cream marvel Jeni Britton Bauer, the sold-out event proved that Miami is a sweet after all.
The rooftop pool was the perfect location for an event filled with nothing but sweet. Sugar enthusiasts and chefs filled the intimate and romantic space overlooking Miami Beach as they stood in the sundae bar line where they would create their own heavenly concoction.
Jeni Briton Bauer would have guided us through the process herself, but the chef lost her voice and couldn't make a peep, so her husband Charly Bauer took the
cake ice cream for her. He explained the process to us. It was similar to an assembly line, you first selected your ice cream flavor.
Jeni's selected ice cream flavor for the night included dark chocolate, double-toasted coconut, key lime frozen yogurt and salty caramel.
Once you got past that tough decision, things got even tougher with the sauce. Yes, sauce. In this setting, sauce comes in the form of extra-bitter hot fudge, salty caramel fudge, macerated strawberries or tropical fruit salsa. Being that we're saucy, we had to try two variations (guests couldn't get more than one ice cream at a time, but they could comes back for seconds, thirds, fourths, and, you get the idea).
Then it was on to gravel - crumble topping for your ice cream. Salty graham, honey cornbread, chocolate blackout or powdered donut. Gravel is key to Jeni's ice ream concoctions, as it adds a nice layer of crunch to the coolness of the ice cream and sliminess of the sauce.
To top it off, a garnish is in order. From a variety of fresh herbs and pecans to bananas and whipped cream, here is where you were allowed to go crazy, adding more than just one.
Our end result included Jeni's favorite ice cream flavor, salty caramel with macerated strawberries, salty graham and whipped cream. We also tried a different variety: double-toasted coconut with salty caramel fudge, chocolate blackout, pecans and whipped cream. Both were worth the additional calories to the 15 burgers we tried at burger bash. They were so good that we even took a third home, as they were cutely packaged with a lid. It still awaits us in the fridge now.
Other participants in the event were not as sweet as Jeni and her husband. Aaron Dreilinger of David Schwadron Catering (they've catered several presidential dinners) was baffled by people's questions of his treats. When they asked if his brownies and cookies had nuts, his response was "I don't get why people their house if they're allergic to nuts. I hope you brought your epi pen with you." His shoot the moon pies, a cookie sandwich if you will (and the best cookie sandwich you'll ever have) came accompanied with a glass of milk. As it was a late night event, it wasn't too far-fetched to think the milk may have been spiked a la Clockwork Orange. "People keep asking what's in the milk. It's just milk. Why would there be something in the milk?" he said. It's Miami, bro.
Chef Jeff O'Neil from Porcao offered his notorious Key Lime Pie. When asked when it was notorious, he informed us that it was on Oprah for being the most downloaded recipe in history. It was a bite of perfection, so get to Google and start searching.
Three time Cupcake Wars winner Hollis Wilder, and owner of Sweets By Holly in Orlando and Jacksonville was offering towers of cupcakes. We were already sedated, so we took four home, as they were also offering to go boxes. Just now we had the vanilla variation (we're saving the red velvet, raspberry and dulce de leche for later) and both my roommate and I agreed it was the best cupcake we've ever had (besides Bunnie Cakes). In case you want to taste it for yourself, they deliver to Miami for a $40 hour surcharge.
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But the most interesting happening of the night was Chocolate Genuis Paul Joachim, who built a chocolate sculpture of Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games and brought it from Orlando. It took him 20 hours to make and he was still sculpting on site. It will remain at The Gale (indoors, of course) for a year. "That's how long the sculpture lasts before it begins to decompose," says the chef, who's done many of these, including a Lebron piece. So if you wanna take a bite out of the sweet and edible Jennifer Lawrence, this is probably as close as you're ever going to get.
Not bad for the first ever all ice cream and dessert event SOBEWFF has had in its 13 years. We'll be back next year.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha