National Dessert Day 2017 recap: don’t worry, I celebrated

I awoke this past Saturday (better known as National Dessert Day), to the sound of thunder shaking the walls. Stormy days do not always motivate desserty travel adventures, but the bakery magnetism forcefield is strong in my family, and so along with torrential rain, I also awoke to a platter full of kolacky from the Oak Park Bakery. Perfect start to this all-important national holiday. #thanksdad

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Luckily, the destination planned for the day’s celebration is as well-known for their hot drinking chocolate as they are for their expansive collection of artisinal chocolate bars from around the world: Cocoa + Co, located in Chicago’s Old Town.

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Cocoa + Co has six different versions of drinking chocolate, and on this day I chose Abuela’s Elixir – a rich chocolate spiked with citrus, spices and molasses and then topped with homemade whipped cream and cocoa powder. But, alas, I don’t really believe that a beverage counts as a dessert. I mean, it’s a drink and frankly you need fluids to stay alive, so therefore it’s more of a necessity than a sweet luxury. Plus, during a rainstorm, it is a requirement for hygge maintenance.

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And so, for dessert(s), I ordered: a dark chocolate s’mores bite (fluffy marshmallow, crisp graham, chocolate ganache center),

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a milk chocolate peanut butter bomb (thick gourmet peanut butter cup with the perf amount of crunch and salt),

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and a slice of their signature inside-out German chocolate cake (BEST GERMAN CHOCOLATE EVER – bittersweet buttercream frosting – like a truffle was hugging this cake, non-cloying filling packed with fresh coconut and pecans, layers of moist dark chocolate cake).

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Because that’s what you do on National Dessert Day ( / any other day of the year).

Cocoa + Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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National Dessert Day 2016: Hopscotch to the rescue

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Realizing yesterday that today was National Dessert Day (these days tend to sneak up on me….. dessert bloggers – they’re just like us!), I had a brief flash of panic: AHHHH I’m in Champaign-Urbana for the weekend, where would I celebrate?!?!?! Where could I find desserts worthy of such an illustrious holiday?!?! But the answer came quickly bc it is the same answer I give to anyone who ever asks me where to find great desserts in C-U: Hopscotch. A beacon of sugary light in a land known for pork and corn. And so, this afternoon, armed with an empty stomach, I made my way to their pastry case.

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Hopscotch Cakes & Confections is housed in the newishly relocated Art Mart. (I’ve often contemplated housing myself there as well. Intelligentsia, Le Creuset, stickers, stuffed animals, wine, cheese…..how hard would it be to just camp out in a dressing room or slide under a table and have my mail forwarded? They sell fancy soap…I’d stay hygienic.) But back to the desserts.

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One of the reasons Hopscotch is so great is their slight seasonal twists on classics. Kaya Tate, Hopscotch master, pushes patrons juuuuust a little nudge out of their flavor comfort zone and in doing so keeps things exciting and interesting, and helps to expand palates away from the disgusting hole that is blue raspberry or cookie dough blizzard. I’m talking about grapefruit poppyseed shortbread, sea salt fennel caramels, blackberry lavender bars, maple bourbon marshmallows……yessssssss.

Today was no exception to the excellent flavor landscape: carrot ginger cupcakes, cheesecake mousse topped with dried flowers, apricot sage bar, pumpkin spice cheesecake.

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And now I’m napping off my dessert coma until dinnertime, where you might just find me at Watson’s Shack & Rail for some fried chicken, but more importantly (obvs) for their daily Hopscotch pie offering. On today’s menu: apple because October.

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