The Sweet Charity Dessert Challenge, Southern Arizona’s largest and most indulgent culinary events, was hosted on Friday, November 18th at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.
The event brought together over 20 of the regions finest pastry chefs, confectioners, bartenders, brewers and distillers, all vying for their dessert or cocktail to be crowned “Sweetest of the Sweet”, the evenings grand prize while raising dough for the arts.
The Sweet Charity Dessert Challenge began nearly five years ago with the goal of highlighting the tremendous culinary talent which exists locally in our bakers, chef's, students, and mixologists who have a passion for anything sweet and the participants in this year’s event didn’t disappoint. Menu items ranged from a Chocolate Tamale with Fruit Pico de Gallo to Pumpkin Trifle Parfait with cocktail pairings including Kickin’ Cactus Cocoa and Vodka Gummy Bears. Attendees voted for their favorite dishes in each category and winners were announced from the main stage at the end of the night:
Best Chocolate Dessert: SpunLight Cotton Candy, Aztec Chocolate Cotton Candy
Best Sweet & Salty Dessert: SpunLight Cotton Candy, Chocolate Salted Caramel Silk
Best Baked Dessert: Nothing Bundt Cakes, Bundtini
Most Creative Cocktail: Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Short & Stout
Best Frozen Dessert: Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain, Frozen Pumpkin Pops
Best Chilled Dessert: Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain, Peppermint Panna Cotta
Best Fruit Dessert: JW Marriott Starr Pass, Yuzu Fruit Crumble
Best Sweet Cocktail: JW Marriott Starr Pass, Spice of the Night
Most Creative Dessert: Rigo’s Restaurant, Ponche Calientito Cocktail
Best Presentation: Splendido at Rancho Vistoso
Sweetest of the Sweet (Grand Prize): Rigo’s Restaurant
Casino Del Sol • Dragoon Brewing Company • Fermented Tea • Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery Bistro • Gringo grill + cantina • Hacienda del Lago • HighWire Lounge •
JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa • Loews Ventana Canyon Resort • Mama's Hawaiian BBQ • Nothing Bundt Cakes • [POPPED] Artisan Popcorn • RA Sushi Restaurant • Rigo's Restaurant, LLC • Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain • Roger Clyne's Mexican Moonshine Tequila • Splendido • SpunLight Cotton Candy • Table of Elementz • The Melting Pot • Three Wells Distilling Company
The event has encouraged local culinarians to reach their absolute creative maximum capacity and each year they reimagine and reinvent the art form of dessert. The tasty event raised funds for Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance’s arts education and therapeutic arts programs and helped promote the sweet side of culinary arts in the city.
2016 Sweet Charity Dessert Challenge
When: Friday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m.
Where: Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Dr.
Cost: $45 per person
Phone: (520) 797-3959
NOTE TO MEDIA: Photos available
About the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance
The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to ensure that, through engagement in arts and culture, our communities produce strong, inspired citizens. SAACA enlists artists, businesses, governments, and individuals to expand artistic and cultural opportunities in their respective communities. To enhance access to the arts and to promote cultural awareness in the communities it serves, SAACA presents large-scale festivals, events and other programs. The Alliance also promotes educational opportunities in the arts and culture for all ages.