Could there be a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in March than indulging in decadent desserts prepared by some of Portland’s top pastry chefs and bakers, served with sips of sophisticated coffee pairings customized to each treat?

For the 150 guests attending the second annual Dessert and Coffee Pairing at Coffee By Design on Diamond Street in Portland on March 13, it’s hard to imagine.

“It’s dessert and coffee!” exclaimed Allison Chamberlain of Portland, who attended with Jack Siulinski of Cape Elizabeth, savoring Love Kupcakes’ banana, pineapple and pecan cupcake with mango mousse frosting.

“We start Restaurant Week with breakfast and we end it with dessert,” said Gillian Britt of gBritt PR, who co-founded Maine Restaurant Week with her husband, Jim. “This is such a fun event, and all of the retail sales during this pairing benefit Preble Street here in Portland.”

“We’re big supporters of Restaurant Week,” said Jake DeLois, owner of Edible Marketing, who attended with his brother, Nate. “My brother has a wicked sweet tooth, so I decided to bring him along.”

With dreamy offerings like Sur Lie’s Chocolate Pot De Crémes with vanilla madeleines and whipped cream paired with Costa Rica Tarrazu Hacienda La Minita Peak Roast, TIQA’s Spanish churros served with a thick chocolate sauce, paired with Organic Italian Roast, and C-Salt’s key lime tarts with oven roasted strawberries, white balsamic and black pepper, paired with Indonesia Sumatra Lintong Lake Toba Dolok Sangul Peak Roast, guests floated from one decadent pairing to the next, and then voted for their favorite.

“We want to pair each dessert with the best coffee profile in order to bring out the flavors of the desserts as well as the coffee,” explained Patti Smith, strategic ambassador and cultural steward at Coffee By Design. “Our head roaster works with our team to determine what kind of coffee bests complements each dessert.”

Dean’s Sweets, Little BIGS, Frisky Whisk, Portland Patisserie and Grand Café, Scratch Baking Co. and Two Fat Cats also participated.

“We’ve asked people to think beyond chocolate this year so we can be more adventurous with our pairings,” said Mary Allen Lindemann, co-owner of Coffee By Design. “We love it. The pastry chefs went above and beyond.”

Guests gathered around Lindemann as she announced the winner.

“The public has voted,” she said, smiling, “and it was very close.”

Top honors for best dessert went to C-Salt for its key lime tart; first runner-up was Frisky Whisk for its strawberry balsamic cupcake; second runner-up was Portland Patisserie for its chocolate macaron with mocha whipped ganache.

Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]


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