LA Cookie Con, the West Coast’s first, biggest and only baking and pastry convention, held their 1st annual event on Sunday January 25, 2015 at the Pasadena Convention Center. Chocoholics and sweets tooth fanatics alike were invited to sample pastries, sweets and snacks from hundreds of exhibitors.

 

 

A VIP Lounge hosted by SunCafe Organic Cuisine was set up for VIP and Press/Blogger ticket holders. The lounge offered complimentary access to mini massages by Massage Envy Monrovia, sparkling wine by Stella Rosa, giveaways by Nature’s bakery and bites by SunCafe Organic. Wally Morgan, General Manager of SunCafe, offered guests tastings from their menu which included hummus & flax cracker, pesto stuffed mushrooms, Mac & cheese and lemon cookies, which were all gluten free. After enjoying some bites from SunCafe and a massage from massage envy, I headed over to Dk’s Donuts. Co-owner Mayly Tao, was behind the booth selling her delicious cronuts. I’m a big fan on Dk’s Donuts often visiting the Santa Monica shop that’s been serving world famous donuts since 1981. A photo booth was set up with donut and pastry props and guests were invited to enjoy the photo booth and post photos to their social media and tag @dkdonuts with #dkdonutcon in return for a free sampling of their sprinkled donut balls.

 

 

A few booths down was a huge line for Thirteen Apples. Shifra Berman, the owner, was behind the booth along with a few members of her family members at the create-your-own candy apples station. There were so many yummy options to choose from, but I opted for a caramel dipped apple with M&M toppings and my friend got a chocolate dipped apple with Oreo toppings. They too had a photo booth set up with props where we posed and posted our pics with #my13apple and tagging @thirteenapples.

 

 

Stivii, chocolate with no sugar added and sweetened with Stevia, were sampling a few of their flavors: pomegranate dark chocolate, white peach dark chocolate, blueberry almond dark chocolate and pure dark chocolate. I really enjoyed the blueberry almond. Maxim Babooie, Co-founder/Vice President, shared that Stivii “is made with real fruit pieces instead artificial flavoring and the best part is these chocolates are rich in fiber, a powerful source of antioxidants and 25% less calories compared to sugar sweetened chocolate.”

 

 

I made way to the back of the convention where I spotted one of my favorite desserts, the ice cream cookie sandwich. There was a huge line so I had to see what all the fuss was about. I spoke with the Chief Cookie Doughveloper, Taylor McSunas and the Doughmander in Chief, Kohlman Verheyen of Drive Me Cookie. They shared with me that they really enjoyed a service they used back in college in Boulder, CO where cookies could be delivered to your home, class, etc. They wanted to take this concept and bring it back to their home state of SoCal where the “order, eat, smile” motto of Drive Me Cookie was developed. You had your choice of cookies, ice cream and toppings baked and served right out of the truck/ We headed over to the photo booth hand built by Kohlman where we posed for a pic with the colorful truck as the background and tagged @drivemecookie with #doughlaroid and #EATDMC. With their charming demeanor and clever advertising, it’s no wonder Drive Me Cookie drew such a crowd.

 

 

To continue the sweet tooth frenzy, I headed over to Bee Green where I met with head of marketing Nathan Halimi. He shared they stand behind their “Life is Sweet” motto as they offer 100% raw honey in natural flavors. I had a chance to try the orange blossom which has “a sweet, floral flavor and a smooth consistency” and alfalfa flavors that were delicious. The honey jars have a great design and presentation coming equipped with a wooden honey comb for convenient use to spread over toast or mixing into tea.

 

 

Next up was Granola Mama’s Handmade where CFO and Owner, Wendy Osmudson, was serving her homemade granola “inspired by the flavors of places and cultures, near and far, using only the best, minimally processed, organic or California grown ingredients possible.” Wendy offered samples of 5 flavors: Hanalei Blend, Paris Blend, Bombay Blend, Oaxaca Blend, and Ventura Blend. I enjoyed the Paris blend which included dark chocolate as one of the ingredients. I recommend trying out Granola Mama’s Handmade to spruce up your yogurt or oatmeal with granola handmade with love. You can contact her atwendy@granolamamashandmade.com on Twitter and Instagram @GranolaMamasHM or Facebook at Granola Mama’s Handmade.

 

 

For a luxurious experience, I headed to DeLuscious where owner Lydia Sheyne was sampling some of her baked goods. I tried the chocolate fudgy brownies and red velvet brownies which were some of the best brownies I had in the whole convention. As I enjoyed the savory taste, Lydia explained “our goal is that our clients experience both ultimate delight and the love & passion we put into each and every bite. When we achieve this, then we have been successful, Enjoy!” and to that I can say DeLuscious has found success as I enjoyed each and every bite and looking forward to trying more of their brownies and cookies.

 

 

One of my other favorite tastings was at Pronutz. Shauna Ahmadian, CEO/Owner, was offering samples of chocolate or yogurt pistachios with added probiotics. Behind their “What are you stashing?!” slogan is a product made with non-GMO ingredients that I found to be delicious. I enjoyed both the chocolate and yogurt flavors and this is sure to be stocked in snack pantry.

 

 

Skinny Addictions founder/owner/creative director, Sherie Stevens attended the convention to share Chocolate Chip Happy Pills that are her homemade chocolate chip cookies that are “too good to be bad” and can be found at skinnyaddictions.com. Upon exit, I stumbled upon Happy-pantry where Isaac Marzioli and his wife were showcasing products to accessorize your pantry and bring some color and fun to the kitchen. I love my cute little white picture frame that will sit perfectly beside my pantry. You can buy yours or check out all of their goodies @happy_pantry or www.happy-pantry.com The turnout for the 1st annual Cookie Con was huge and I’m looking forward to the 2016 event which is sure to make our lives a little sweeter – at least for the day!

 

 

-Sanaz Sarsad