Caramelpalooza 2013: Judge's Recap

Katie Johnson and Diana Lustig
Ribbons, "crack balls" from Essence, Millie's rosemary caramels.

The fourth annual Caramelpalooza is now but a memory. It was a grand time, with more sticky sweets on display than you can imagine. My time at the event was different from most, as I was invited to judge the competition.

As the contestants were arriving and setting up their displays, the other judges and I were sequestered in an empty shop space nearby. It was an all-star cast this year, with folks from Sweet Republic, Christopher's, Julia Baker Confections, Smeeks, go lb. salt, plus contest winner Josh Rhodes.

See Also:
Caramelpalooza 2013: And The Winners Are...
Caramelpalooza In Photos

This wasn't my first time as a judge. At the very first Caramelpalooza, I won the guest judge contest. Back then, it was a smaller affair, easily contained by the Frances/Smeeks/Stinkweeds parking lot. And there wasn't nearly as much caramel. This year, judges had the daunting task of sampling no fewer than 20 caramel confections. It sounded manageable. Then, once I saw all 20 confections lined up on banquet tables, I realized it was a very good thing that I came hungry.

Location Info

UNION at Biltmore Fashion Park

2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

I have to admit that I really enjoyed this Caramelpalooza, but being a judge last year had made it even more special! It was a perverse thrill to be recognized by 3 of the 20 exhibitors. Maybe that means I'm out on the town a bit too much, but then I have two firm beliefs: 1) Never do a crappy job if you can pay someone else to do it and 2) Everything tastes better when someone else makes it, even an iceberg lettuce salad!

Now Trending

From the Vault