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.
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.