The above photo was the scene in our offices during the final judging of The Cooking District Great New Vendor Search of 2013. We were thrilled to see how many members of the Cooking District community and other food entrepreneurs are making some truly innovative and delicious products. It was a tough and close call, but after all of the trying, testing, tasting, debating and re-tasting, we are thrilled to announce that the Grand Prize winner is: Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes
Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes
charmed us from the get go with their clever concept and stylish packaging. And once we got down to tasting we were further impressed. We initially sampled their savory offerings — including a rich and nutty Roasted Garlic Savory Cheesecake Spread, a Bacon and Blue Cheese combo and their El Diablo Cheesecake which takes Ghost Peppers, Habanero Peppers & Jalapeño Peppers and combines them with Pepper Jack cheese, red onions, sriracha sauce, herbs and spices — topped with an Ancho/Chipotle Pesto and instantly began experimenting with things to spread them on — tortilla chips, crackers, bagels. And they also worked well as a sandwich spread and dropped by the spoonful to top a tomato soup.
And while the savory cheesecakes had multiple uses as an hors d'oeuvres or ingredient, Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes
also features many flavors of sweet cheesecakes — German Chocolate, Strawberry NY Style, Blackberry/Cabernet — which are perfect as a single serving dessert. Check them out in our store and let us know which is your favorite flavor.
We had so many strong entries though that we couldn't award just one prize. So the First Prize goes to Coleen’s Better Than Breadsticks
and you can now also find these great treats in our store. These breadsticks are the brainchild of Coleen Graham, a graduate of the University of Vermont at Burlington for a two year program at the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese. There, she studied with five European cheese makers earning her the title of being the first person to graduate with a masters certificate in this program.
As we debated the pros and cons of each entry, we found ourselves again and again dipping into these bags of artisanal hand cut and stretched breadsticks in flavors like Parmesan Pepperoni, Three Cheese, Cheddar Jalapeño, Gruyere and Garlic and a completely addictive Blue Cheese Buffalo. We wanted these in our store as well.
And as we were dipping Coleen’s Better Than Breadsticks
into Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes
savory spreads, we had a sort of "two great tastes that taste great together" moment. And we realized that these two products, along with many of the things sold by our resident cheese and charcuterie experts Stinky Bklyn
would form the base of a great Entertaining Department
, where you can find the ingredients to make a perfect party.
So check out our new vendors and new department. Thanks to everyone who participated in The Cooking District Great New Vendor Search of 2013. And here's to 2014!