Ottawa's Own International Dessert Festival!
On Wed, May 8, 2013 I was pleased to be part of the Ottawa Mommy’s Club delegation to the Ottawa Desserts of the World Festival.
I’m dedicating the month of May to rediscovering my hometown and I figured, while it might be a real tough gig, I was up to the task of researching and reviewing desserts!
A New Festival for a Great Cause
In its inaugural year, the Desserts of the Word Festival promises to be a yearly celebration that’s a perfect to kick off Mother’s Day weekend, with desserts from Canada, France, Lebanon, China, Africa, Italy, Israel, and India.
Proceeds from the event were benefiting St. Mary’s Home, a social support organization that provides programs and opportunities for teenage parents.
A Beautiful Venue
The Shenkman Arts Centre is a beautiful venue and was perfect for an event like this. Inside, there was a fascinating display of live painting by local up-and-coming artist Allan Andre.
It was amazing to watch Allan work while everyone crowded around and it was a terrific, novel concept to incorporate into a silent auction. Allan’s finished work was absolutely beautiful – I’m only sorry that I wasn’t able to stay and bid myself!
Time for Dessert!
There was a long line of dessert makers offering samples of their works, as well as items for sale. It was a great idea in theory, but the set-up of the room resulted in bottle necks, the samples were quite limited, and the items for sale were being offered at full price, with no proceeds going to the charitable cause.
My favourite part was enjoying the dessert trays provided by the embassies – pineapple filed shortbread cookies from the Philippines, Lamingtons from Australia, and delicious fried dough balls from the Congo. This was the real international part of the festival and it was delightful –much more so than the more generic macaroons, brownies, and truffles provided by the commercial bakers. There was also a giant display of fresh strawberries with a molten chocolate fountain –delicious!!
Great Value or Budget Buster?
Being a national capital, Ottawa is filled with events like this – creative events raising money for worthy causes. There’s two ways to look at events like this. On one hand, instead of just donating $20 for the cause, you can buy a $20 ticket and enjoy entertainment, music, contests, samples, and more. Overall, it would be a great value if you were planning to donate $20 on your own anyway.
On the other hand, you have to pay $20 to enter an event that provides you with long lines for small samples and are constantly bombarded with opportunities to buy more. Your $20 donation could easily end up costing you $40 or more, all for the sake of a cupcake and a plastic glass of boxed wine.
I think it’s important to consider your level of dedication and support for the cause and how much money you are willing to spend to support a charity and contrast that against the perceived entertainment value of the money you spend. Events like this can be a fun way to have an evening out, discover a new venue, learn about events in the city, and notice new artists, chefs, and DJs, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to spend more than you can afford, no matter how worthy the cause.
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. Would you be more likely to attend an event if it's affiliated with a charity fundraiser?
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