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    Eat & Swig

    Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana Desserts First Vincenzo's
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    Imagine a beautiful daydream: where the foodie spectrum of savory to oh-so-sweet, of frothy espresso IV (necessary) to classy liqueur is like a Willy Wonka-wonderland of Girl Scout Cookie-infused creations. Let's be real: We're talking Samoas (Happy 40th Anniversary, best cookie in the universe!). We're talking innovative appetizers. We're talking gorgeous saccharine creations literally emerging from the dreams of culinary masterminds. Here's the best part: You get to live out this dream and relish every phenomenal morsel of it. Because when you live in Louisville, no dream is too quirky or too delicious to be a physical reality. Especially when Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana's annual foodie fundraiser Desserts First is involved. At Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, the ultimate hope is to "build girls of confidence and character," with an arsenal of creativity-laced desserts to make the ultimate goal feasible for a brighter future for us all. 

    John conti Coffee


    The venue: Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center. Elegant with personality, the setting elevated the 9th Desserts First to the greatest yet, while firmly solidifying its place at the top of the foodie chain of social events. It was an absolute joy to attend.

    This year was my second time attending Desserts First, but the first time with an inside perspective as a judge! We had to evaluate a shortlist of randomly assigned restaurants for best appetizer, best drink, and best dessert based on the art of preparation, the overall palatable factor, and use of Girl Scout Cookie in the concoctions. With such an impressive array set before all the judges, it was not an easy feat to decide! 

    Rivue: Kale green slaw infused with Savannah Smile Cookies for a lemony note, topped with prosciutto-wrapped grilled chicken. The lemon was welcomely prominent. 

    Rivue's dessert selection: A trio of cookie milk panacotta, with select Girl Scout Cookie crumbles on top. Soothingly delicate, but simultaneously richness of flavor. 

    Bluegrass Brewing Company: Do-si-dos and Samoas in a savory mole, marinated in chicken.

    BBC dessert: Triple Girl Scout Cookie combo powering this tempting treat. Do-si-dos and Trefoils in a cut crust, made with reduced beer, chocolate ganache, and completed with a Tagalong-fueled filling.

    BBC's chocolate-aged wine and bourbon barrel-aged ginger beer.

    Desserts by Debbie: Lemon pound cake with Savannah Smiles and lemon liqueur. Cookie crunches swirled into real butter and real eggs, all freshly baked, using a lemon curd yogurt sauce. 

    It was the Audrey Hepburn of desserts- timeless, simple, but so elegant and refined. The lemon burst through with shining armor. 

    Louisville Cream: A newbie to the Louisville foodie scene, but they already are raring to make their mark, with enticing flair. Can Samoa Cookie Butter Ice Cream be a flavor all the time? If so, sign me up for the pint club! (Confession: Sign me up regardless. This ice cream was *that* good.) 

    John conti Coffee was a favorite last year as well, and they even exceeded my expectations: Samoa Toasted Caramel Crunch Cappuccino, with crushed Samoas, whip, and dessert chocolate and caramel sauces. I loved being able to see the process of the creation! There are equal parts art and science involved in culinary prowess. 

    Like any coffee-addicted writer would when faced with the possibility of a Samoa/cappuccino tryst with finesse, I downed this coffee with total happiness. This deservedly was victor for People's Choice Award for best drink.

    Gary's on Spring: Samoa cupcake deconstructed. Vanilla and coconut shortbread cupcake, topped with chocolate ganache, caramel buttercream frosting, a caramel drizzle, roasted coconut, and garnished with a charming Samoa on top. 

    You should know that I think it's safe to say: I could not be pickier about my cupcakes. It is beyond rare for me to meet my cupcake match that subverts my dislike, and has only happened twice thus far in my life before Desserts First 2015. Congratulations, Gary's on Spring, your cupcakes made me fall in foodie love, and I am still in immense shock (but I'm more than ok with it). 

    Gary's on Spring: Dessert selection: Savannah Smiles Lemon Bar Martini. Made with triple sec, vanilla vodka, frangelico, freshly squeezed lemon, and Limoncello-infused whipped cream.

    Judge's Award for best drink went to Gary's on Spring. 

    My best friend and fabulous plus one for the event, Kinga, fully agreed about the cupcake sorcery at hand. 

    Vincenzo's: ALWAYS a favorite. 

    Kinga and I had the fortune of being able to talk to Chef Agostino Gabriele, above, as well as chef Serge Katz, who clearly admires Chef Gabriele with true respect. Chef Katz explained that Chef Gabriele decided to create this dessert the day of the event, after a dream the night before had inspired him. "Even when everyone else is sleeping, Chef's still working," Katz joked with a twinkle in his eye. What a privilege to have such enthralling talent in Louisville. Our chefs in this fair city always challenge themselves to surpass greatness.

    Vincenzo's dessert submitted for the competition: An exquisite hazelnut biscotti with white chocolate, garnished with raspberry and orange peel. Paired to perfection with house-made Limoncello by Chef Agostino Gabriele. There was such depth of texture and a prismatic flavor eruption. These biscottis were works of art, and for this reason were chosen to be the cover photo for this article.

    Cellar Door Chocolates

    Cellar Door's enticing spin on a peanut butter and jelly s'more. Do-si-dos covered in dark chocolate, sandwiched with Cellar Door's own fluffy, sweet, and light marshmallow filling that tastes like edible angel wings.

    Bake My Day

    Bake My Day: Ra-Ra Oatmeal Raisin Cookie processed, with added butter, and baked altogether. Complete with a cheesecake layer and topped with vanilla rum sauce. If you were wondering if oatmeal raisin, cheesecake, and rum are meant-to-be in a foodie love affair, let me answer your questioning psyches: yes!

    I always appreciate Bake My Day's enchanting presentation. 


    Ladyfingers Catering: Ra-Ra Raisin Oatmeal Cookie-sutffed pork tenderloin with Savannah Smiles bort blanc. 

    Congratulations to Ladyfingers for winning best appetizer two years in a row! People's Choice Award for victory. 

    Flour de Lis Bakery: Thick, creamy mousse gracefully juxtaposed against the cookie crunch.

    Awarded Best Dessert by the judges.

    Feast BBQ: Among the three dessert offerings, this one was my personal favorite of the trio. Thin Mint and candied ginger chocolate bark.

    Cake Flour: An epic sandwich made with cookie butter, toffee paste, and two almond brownies

    Mango's Mexican Cantina: Samoa's churros dipped in tres leches sauce, paired with Thin Mint margaritas!

    Roux Louisville launched their creation with yum-tastic brilliance to emerge victorious: People's Choice Award for Best Dessert!

    Roux: Tagalongs-stuffed hot beignets, with sprinkled powdered sugar and drizzled chocolate sauce. One of my favorites of the evening!

    HIllbilly Tea: Chocolate Tagalong Cupcakes, with Hillbilly Tea's own Earl Grey Tea-infused peanut butter frosting, chocolate ganached, and Tagalong pieces placed on top. The Earl Grey paired with chocolate peanut butter was tasty and memorable!

    Bristol Bar & Grille: Trefoil cornbread waffle topped with Tagalong chicken mole, paired with thin mint and bourbon martinis.

    Rightfully awarded by all the judges for Best Appetizer. I am a sucker for amazing sweet and salty combinations.

    Q & A Sweet Treats: Bourbon brown butter butterscotch cheesecake with a trefoil crust. Lovely! 

    The ever effervescent editor of, Elizabeth with her wonderful soulmate/husband Nathen Myers enjoying the event!

    Varanese: Trefoils Banana Cup. With peach-vanilla custard, topped with Do-si-dos powder. Endlessly classy.

    Adrienne & Company's outstanding philosophy! We took it deeply to heart. Bring on the doughnut squadron.

    Girl Scout Cookie toppings laid out to fill any passionate cookie enthusiast's heart's desire.

    With my ice cream pal! The Comfy Cow just dives straight to the heart of any ice cream lover. 

    I love that The Comfy Cow the past two years always does something fun. Last year, they opted for bon bons, and this year, an ice cream cookie sandwich matched the spirit of the event in superb fashion.

    If you have not yet had the blissful opportunity to attend Desserts First, I genuinely hope this virtual, decadent tour puts things nicely in perspective. Exciting milestones come and go. Fingers crossed, I will eat many more delicious feats of foodie nature. Who knows what adventures await any of us. Life seizes you with sudden rapture and invigorating opportunities. But there is one thing I can assure you- when I am 90 years-old and looking back at the most rewarding, worthwhile moments of my life, Desserts First 2015 will undoubtedly be one of them.

    Photobooth mementos make for the best foodie memories. Because after all: food is meant to be celebrated. Take delight in food as you do in the company of those dearest surrounding you. You may devour culinary creations promptly, but the recollections leave the most satisfying aftertaste. What is better than eating your weight in Girl Scout Cookies? Perhaps it is the concurrent knowledge that our valiant appetite efforts help to bolster the confidence of young girls dreaming of one day forging influential paths. What I love so much about this organization is that leaders like Suzy Gessner wholeheartedly care about the wellbeing of today's scouts as well as the maturing ones of tomorrow. Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana does not seek to change the goals of these girl scouts to something that they are not; but rather, this cause is about letting these young girls know that no Madame Curie-level aspiration is out of reach. Desserts First 2016 will be the 10th anniversary, and I for one cannot wait to see what this organization produces next. 


    All funds raised from this event benefit Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, which serves over 17,000 adult and girl members in 64 counties throughout central and western Kentucky as well as southern Indiana.


    Photos: Courtesy of Julie Lamb and Kinga Winnicka

    Julie Lamb's picture

    About Julie Lamb

    Curly-haired owner of one massive sweet tooth, believer of Harry Potter and Disney fairytales, and a fierce lover of all things literary and the arts.

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