Last week, along with Ana Schwarz of Island Gelato, Huhana Davis, hospo trainer at Waiheke Secondary School, and Nathan McKenzie, recipe developer for My Food Bag, I was asked to judge the inaugural Waiheke Vegan Dessert Competition held at the Timbuktu Nomadic Deli in Ostend.
We were the envy of the crowd as we dug in spoons, sampled and appraised the entries. The sweet concoctions featured island ingredients where possible, so citrus was popular, as well as rosemary flowers and other herbal touches, and the 4 C’s: coconut, chickpea brine, citrus, chocolate. An easy job, perhaps, but then we had to choose a winner.
Lena Whetton from Litt-Lé Cakes took away top spot with her Structured Lemon Meringue Pie. Her dessert stood out not just because it looked pretty, and had a theme, but the pastry was melt-in the mouth and flaky (try and do that without butter!), but it supported the structure on top. The curd was perfectly balanced, at once sweet, citrusy and tangy, and the piped meringues were well formed and crisp.
Runner-up was Kathy Voyles from Kai Conscious Waiheke with her innovative “Not-tella Slice with a Nut Not-Cheesecake”.
I also loved Surfdale Sandwich Bar’s “Chocolate Mousse” and the novel idea of “Cocolicious” by Vesna Hrestak-Neeley from Vino Vino
You can sample Lena’s dessert for yourself throughout the month of November at Timbuktu Nomadic Deli in Ostend, and do a dessert crawl to try all the other entries at their place of origin. Pick your favourite and cast a vote for the People’s Choice Award, to be drawn at the end of November.