We joined hundreds of people for the Sweet Charity Dessert Challenge to sample some of the finest desserts and cocktails in Tucson. The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) hosted Baja Arizona’s largest dessert competition to raise funds to support SAACA’s arts therapy programs at the our local VA hospital.
Here you see some spicy flavors of cotton candy.
The fourth annual event featured sweet treats and drinks from twenty-five restaurants, bakers, and mixologists. The servings were much larger than expected considereding how many they were serving and how many we were sampling.
If you’ve never attended, let me tell you that you’ll find a party atmosphere, complete with DJ, music videos, and laser lights in the ceiling. You’ll get to chat across the table with business owners and chefs. They will be happy to tell you about their creations, and answer you questions. You’ll receive a ballot sheet as you arrive and be asked, after making the rounds, to vote for your favorite in multiple categories.
One of my favorites of the evening was a cocktail prepared by the team from the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain. They served a butternut squash Old Fashioned. The squash was roasted with spices and steeped in a combination of spirits. It reminded me of a Polish tincture, steeping seasonal produce in alcohol! A very familiar process.
The folks from Dove Mountain brought some of the most memorable treats including a frozen Pumpkin Pop and a chocolate panna cotta.
The overall winner for the evening was Rigo’s Restaurant with a chocolate offering.
In my opinion it was an evening full of winners. Attendees got to connect with local business, a win on both sides. Everyone at the Sweet Charity Dessert Challenge got to support SAACA’s no cost arts and writing programming to veterans in poly-trauma, blind rehab and the memory care units, and that is something we can all call a win!
Many thanks to SAACA for providing two press passes for this event.