By Carly Petrone
If you’ve ever wanted to throw a food festival dedicated to everything sweet, then OMG! Dessert Goals founder Miraya Berke and Creative Director/Experience Designer Liang Shi have got you beat.
The first-annual OMG Dessert Goals festival brought together some of the most inventive and fun dessert vendors and companies from across NYC.
To say Sunday’s event was a success would be an understatement. The line to get in never seemed to die down during the six-hour long festival, and vendors were more than willing to meet their customers face-to-face.
Berke, who could be spotted sporting a bedazzled “OMG DESSERT GOALS” bomber jacket throughout the day, was pretty excited about how it all turned out.
“It was awesome, it exceeded our expectations of happiness and fun,” Berke said. “Exactly what we wanted.”
More than 20 vendors lined the walls (and rooftop) of Dobbin St., a quaint, open venue in the heart of Williamsburg. Ticketholders were able to roam freely throughout the space for 90 minutes, giving plenty of time to fuel up on sugar.
Among the many vendors in attendance was Mochidoki, a company that specializes in the premium Japanese dessert known as mochi ice cream. Founder Ken Gordon emphasized why his bite-sized “bon bons” were different from traditional mochi.
“We really wanted to expand the mochi profile and see if we could elevate the product, if we could make it more mainstream to the American palate,” Gordon said. “Our passion fruit flavor, which is purple on the outside and yellow in the inside, is made to look like an actual passion fruit. We’re the first company to put chocolate chips in the mochi, so you’re getting texture as well as flavor. I just thought, ‘why can’t we combine Ben and Jerrys into mochi ice cream?’”
Wowfulls served up a delicious 1950s-style Hong Kong egg waffle known as Gai Dan Jai — a dish that quickly became one of the most popular at the festival. Served with a festive scoop of pastel-colored ice cream, chocolate syrup, and pink yogurt-dipped pretzels, it was definitely an Instagrammable dessert.
It was also hard to pass up Joey Bats Sweets, the company that’s busy making authentic Portuguese egg tarts. Most guests were lucky enough to taste batches coming straight out of the oven. These Pastel de Natas — Portugals most famous dessert — is according to owner Joey Batista, “like a crème brulee inside a flaky crust.”
Trisha and Lloyd,of Jersey City-based Baonanas, had a prime spot right near the front of the festival, so it was easy to stop by and taste their decadent leche-flan inspired puddings. Each flavor is made fresh by hand, then frozen, and finally whipped with cream to achieve its signature mousse-like consistency. If you’re looking for a bite, you can catch them at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg every weekend.
Those who were familiar with Taiyaki’s fun fish-shaped waffle cones could finally try it out for themselves. These adorable waffle cones were stuffed with red bean and topped with soft serve matcha-flavored ice cream, making it almost too cute to eat.
Hannah Bae, of Noona’s Ice Cream, showed off her Korean-inspired, small-batch artisanal ice cream company — which just launched four months ago.
“I love ice cream more than shaved ice and other Korean desserts. I was always making it on the weekends as a hobby, but when I moved out on my own I found myself making a lot of flavors that I would make for my family,” Bae said. “I thought, let me make my own kind of flavor. That’s how the Toasted Rice was born. I wanted to develop a flavor that resonates with my family, Korean culture, and everyone’s culture.”
Fellow ice cream enthusiast and popular Instagrammer Diane Sooyeon Kang, of A Korean Girl Eats, couldn’t say enough about Noona’s Ice Cream.
“I grew up eating toasted rice and I never thought about making it into an ice cream flavor. When I tried it, I could definitely taste the toasted rice that I grew up with — but the fact that it was in ice cream form, and the texture was so creamy and smooth — it shows how Korean food is progressing,” Kang said. “Now, there’s a lot of refinement to the type of cuisine that I grew up eating.”
Up on the roof, guests were taking photos with the Manhattan skyline and enjoying bites from Dana Confections, Not Your Average Cotton, and Bittles.
Folks also took advantage of hour-long workshops, located on the upper level of the festival. Top experts in the dessert and social space shared their knowledge about how to make money from food photos and how to go about styling a food photo shoot.
Popular Instagrammers and bloggers like Jeremy Jacobwitz of Brunch Boys, Rayna Greenberg of One Hungry Jew, and Michelle Williams of Coffee and Champagne were there to help inspiring creatives like themselves.
“Go to everything, do everything, open every door, go to every single event, everything you’re invited to,” Greenberg said. “As you grow, remind yourself that you have your audience and value it.”
The festival ended with a special Yum’s the Word show, a storytelling event that combined ice cream cake with funny stories. Host and ice cream cake maker Robin Gelfenbien brought one of her signature cakes as well as plenty of hilarious storytellers to the stage.
As far as introducing New Yorkers to a variety of dessert options and incredibly creative companies, this festival achieved just that. Now, Berke is setting her sights on her next delicious project.
“We’re definitely planning on doing it next year, if not before. We’re looking at other types of events, both big and small that we can do,” Berke said. Well, guess that means we’ll have to start dieting now.