By Lauren Reiss
Plastic donuts and ice cream cones and a block-long line of people (hungry for both dessert and an Instagram) occupied Dobbin Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn during the last weekend in March. When the people finally made their way inside, balloons that read “Dessert Goals” greeted them. Each guest could snap a quick-pic before truly entering the space brimming with vendors handing out sugary treats and chocolate-lined smiles.
On the day that the tickets to the NYC Dessert Fest “Dessert Goals” went on sale, they sold out immediately. So how did I, a commoner who did not log on to purchase tickets online precisely at noon months ago, earn my coveted spot at the highly elite day of dessert? I won them.
I, perhaps like many of you, follow the Instagram account @foooodieee, which has 438 thousand followers and counting. The account is run by Tessa Gluck, who graduated South in 2010. Just a few days before the dessert festival, Gluck announced a giveaway via an Instagram post. With the completion of just three simple steps—like her picture, follow her Instagram and the official Dessert Goals Instagram, and tag “your #DessertBFF in a comment”—I was one step closer to Dessert Goals. I followed the three steps, and by the next day, Gluck informed me that I had won two tickets to the dessert spectacular.
Like Smorgasburg, Dessert Goals is comprised of creative vendors dishing out their innovative foody creations. One vendor, Boqueria—a Spanish tapas restaurant with Flatiron, SOHO, Upper East Side, and Brooklyn locations—graced dessert goals with their Spanish twist on the classic s’more: Torched marshmallows and melted Hershey’s chocolate sandwiched between two circular churros made for the most delectable treat at the festival. Other highlights included the adorable Stache of Goods decorated macaron masterpieces, the gourmet mochi from Mochidoki, and the (vegan!) chocolate brownie bar from Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream. The best mochi flavors include a vibrant passion fruit and the classic matcha green tea. Flavorful ice cream complemented the perfectly soft rice flour dough so that both texture and flavor hit the mark. The bar from Van Leeuwen—an all vegan brownie, chocolate ice cream, and caramel dipped in chocolate with cocoa nibs sprinkled on top—was admittedly too rich for my friend’s taste, but I enjoyed the dark chocolate experience.
In essence, the event was catered toward a crowd concerned with the Instagrammablity of the treats. Dessert Goals advertised the “Instagram garden specifically decorated for dessert photography.” Certain desserts did not taste as good as they looked. The Baba Cool dragon fruit bowl was particularly photogenic, with a vivid magenta color, perfectly parallel lines of toppings, and edible flowers on top. However, the base was too icy and not particularly flavorful. And let’s just say flowers were not designed for eating. The Underwest “Celebration” Donut tasted good at best; the rainbow sprinkled cake and chocolate icing was super sweet and not worth more than two or three bites. However, when served with a colorful napkin that read “donut judge me” and held up in front of a backdrop in the Instagram garden, the donut did perfectly complement my Instagram newsfeed.
Overall, Dessert Goals radiated happiness and sweetness from every corner. Each of the attendees, from Instagram-famous food bloggers to Brooklyn hipsters to two high-school girls, enjoyed the event’s treats, photo-ops, and light-hearted ambiance. But we certainly did not enjoy the sugar crash that followed.