The 3rd Annual The Next Big Small Brand was held at a larger venue at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) this past Tuesday. This year’s theme was New York vs. San Francisco, where three small businesses from each city held their own perspective as to what makes them unique.
Many congratulations to the winners Catherine and Jason Walsh, founders of New York Superfoods, Inc., took home the grand prize, winning the judges over with their chia-packed snacks and the People’s Choice winners Gillian Sara Shaw and Max Newman of Black Jet Baking Company of San Francisco.
So you might be asking, what did I eat there? There’s to choose from but here were my three main favorites:
The one I was secretly hoping to win were the amazing pies created by Cheryl Perry and Felipa Lopez Pie Corps. (Seriously, if you haven’t watched their video that Liza of Food. Curated. filmed, you should. And get yourself some pie, while you’re at it because, you’ll be wanting some at the end of it – or halfway through like I have one weekend morning.)
I love pie. Almost more than cake or chocolate just because it’s a versatile pastry that can go sweet or savory. What the women behind Pie Corps do is to have the familiarity and comfort of what pie provides but have their own creative flavors into the mix. The most remarkable pie (of the half dozen or so I ate) was the salted lavender honey pie. That particular flavor rendered me almost speechless. It was initially floral and sweet from the lavender and the honey but the salt added a whole different dimension.
There was a couple who ate at the same table I have and they were eating a plate filled with fried chicken pie with braised greens, s’more, salted lavender honey, and carnitas. One half of that said couple was from the South and when he ate the fried chicken pie, he was all smiles. This reminded him of his youth in the South, but this was tastier.
Dandelion Chocolate was probably my surprise favorite. I have eaten way too many chocolate bars for an average person and generally would be jaded of it. But Dandelion’s three origin chocolates (all 70% cacao) were masterfully minimalist with their chocolate bars that it astonished me in a good way. They just create their bars with just the cocoa beans and sugar. Nothing else. The Venezuelan had robust spicy characteristics, namely of cinnamon and clove. It reminds me of a solid form of the spiced hot chocolate. My favorite though was the Madagascar 70%. I felt like I’m eating a dried cherry chocolate bar but there weren’t any dried cherries or infusion of it.
The baked goods from Black Jet Baking Company were pretty fantastic. Of the six or so things they’ve served, I really liked their interesting take of the coconut macaroon. It’s still a very good macaroon but the texture was the thing that made it memorable. Craggy and crunchy on the outside and moist and not too sweet within. What I found out that made the textural difference was the use of making their own caramel and fold it with the egg whites, and two different coconut flakes.
To view more photos of my visit, please click through the slideshow (or view my Flickr set):