Boston Bakes: Chile Olive Oil Charity Bake-off

11 Nov


(Clockwise l-r) Fig pudding cakes from Treats on Washington, brioche donut from Sofra, and citrus cupcake from Isabelle’s Curly Cakes

The Chilean Association of Growers and Producers of Olives and Olive Oil recently went on a three city tour to promote the country’s robust olive oil industry. Recognizing that hosting a simple olive oil tasting is probably a tough sell, they got creative and threw an excellent free event in Somerville. In addition to sampling Chilean olive oils,  attendees enjoyed free wine and FIVE desserts. The winner of the charity bake-off was honored with a $1,000 donation made in their name to Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer. The only guideline was that each baker needed to incorporate one of the Chilean olive oils into their dessert.

Jaime Davis No. 9 Park Pastry Chef

No. 9 Park Pastry Chef Jaime Davis

Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer founder Carol Sneider was in attendance, sharing the moving story of how she started the charity 14 years ago. When Carol was 16, she lost her mother to breast cancer. Her family’s history of breast cancer combined with having a daughter of her own, she felt compelled to do something. Thanks to her passion and dedication,  hundreds of Boston restaurants will once again offer diners an opportunity to support breast cancer research by enjoying a dessert from from May 6-12th.

Carol Sneider and Chilean Olive Oil met thanks to the magic of Twitter, but I wonder if the embattled Todd English was another connection. English is a friend of  Boston Bakes, a promoter of Chilean Olive Oil, and his sister lost a battle with breast cancer.


No 9. Park: Vanilla olive oil bavarian cake with grapes, almonds, and celery

My favorite dessert of the night was courtesy of No. 9 Park Pastry Chef Jaime Davis. Her vanilla Bavarian cake swapped in tahini and olive oil instead of butter. The naturally sweet and bold olive oil flavor complemented the candy almond and celery. The olive oil sweet jam was the winning touch. At excellent restaurants, sometimes people get carried away with apps, cocktails, and entrees, that they forget to save room for dessert. If this dish is any indication, that is not a mistake you want to make at No. 9 Park.


Treats on Washington: Fig pudding cake

Another great dessert was a fig pudding cake by Brighton bakery Treats on Washington. The bakery was started by long-time friends Dana Briley and Jessica Brown who met at the Culinary Institute of America in 2000. Their olive oil pudding cake with black mission figs and citrus glaze made for a beautiful and memorable treat.


Isabelle’s Curly Cakes: citrus cupcake

The biggest surprise of the night came from Isabelle’s Curly Cakes. I almost skipped the table altogether because I’m not a cupcake fan (I’m a muffin guy, what can I say?). However, out of fairness, I tried their citrus cupcake with spiced buttercream frosting. I’m so glad I did.


Isabelle’s Curly Cakes: Blood orange curd surprise!

Upon investigation, it was filled with a delicious blood orange curd! Curly Cakes got a close second place on my scorecard.

I wasn’t an official judge, however. That difficult task was left up to Bianca Garcia of Confessions of a Chocoholic, Karen from Fussy Eater, and Susan from Food Service East. They awarded first place to  freelance chef Jon Sargeant. His dessert had some truly great elements, but he suffered from a lack of editing. After his dessert was introduced, he corrected the announcer, saying that he had been inspired in the kitchen and started adding more and more ingredients. Ahh, it all made sense. The olive oil cake with
creme fraiche, cranberries steeped in olive oil, blueberries, orange, basil, rosemary – I wasn’t able to keep up with the long list of ingredients.

Also generously participating was Sofra in Cambridge. Sofra made the brioche donut with salted caramel glaze (in first picture). I’m not a big salted caramel or brioche fan, so it wasn’t my favorite – but that’s by no fault of their own. I absolutely can’t wait to go this week and see what else Sofra has to offer. It’s been recommended to me by several of my most trusted dessert advisers.

This wasn’t my first time nerding out about olive oil. In addition to attending my fair share of olive oil tastings and festivals, I was fortunately enough to learn about olive oil from Tom Mueller, the guy who literally wrote the book on it.

An excerpt from my review of his book launch at Fig & Olive:

“…Olive oil has played an important symbol throughout history: babies used to be slathered in olive oil during baptisms, and it was olive oil that would  in baths and gymnasiums.

“Olive oil has played a significant role in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.  ‘In Israel it is obvious that Hanukkah is connected with olive oil,’ said David Eitam, director of the Olive Oil Industry Museum in Haifa, Israel. ‘The famous miracle in 165 B.C., when Judah Maccabee and his brothers found a drop of oil to light the candelabra in the Temple in Jerusalem, was not soy or vegetable oil. It was olive oil, common in Israel from the time of Adam and Eve.’ In addition to lighting, olive oil was used for fuel, medicine, cooking, and ablutions on priests during the biblical period. In the Qu’ran, Prophet Mohammed also drenched himself in olive oil. Other uses of olive oil throughout history includes cosmetics, preservatives, weaving, aphrodisiacs, and contraceptives.

“Today of course, we are more familiar with olive oil in the kitchen. There are 200 active ingredients in olive oil, offering important health and nutrition benefits. There are also 700 different kinds of olives.”

Just as Chilean Olive Oil and Boston Bakes connected through Twitter, I heard about this event through the same magical tool. It was a unique and decadent event – just the type of surprising night that is making me fall in love with this chilly city.

3 Responses to “Boston Bakes: Chile Olive Oil Charity Bake-off”

  1. Elizabeth November 30, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    How did you find out about this?

    • TreasureMA November 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      Chile Olive Oil found me on twitter! Oh the magic of twitter.

  2. Aaron Sowash June 30, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    The main type of fat found in all kinds of olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). MUFAs are actually considered a healthy dietary fat. If your diet emphasizes unsaturated fats, such as MUFAs and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), instead of saturated fats and trans fats, you may gain certain health benefits. ‘`*’

    I’ll see you in a bit <

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