There’s nothing more decadent than a slice of classic cheesecake. As a child growing up near New York City, I remember when my family and I were spoiled with excursions to some of the best bakeries and delis in and around Manhattan. There’s the Cheesecake Factory in the States (where a gargantuan slice of cheesecake is a meal in and of itself), and just about every bakery across North America producing their own versions.
Vancouver Foodster (@vanfoodster) has created several food competitions over the years, including the Poutine Challenge, Burger Challenge, the upcoming Eggs Benedict Challenge (the latest in the series) and the Best Cheesecake Challenge. Last week, Richard Wolak (owner of Vancouver Foodster) invited a group of media to enjoy three of the 12 cheesecake entries in the competition.
We started at Gramercy Grill, where chef Dennis Huang’s strawberry cheesecake ($7.50) is entered into the competition. This smooth, flavourful cheesecake is complemented with berry topping, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream. It was paired with a refreshing spritzer for the tasting, featuring Confidence Sparkling Brut from Summerland and Chambord liqueur, with a frozen raspberry dropped in.
Gramercy Grill is located at 2685 Arbutus Street in Kits. Follow them on Twitter: @gramercygrill
Stop number two was to the colourful Salontea on Granville Street. I discovered this shop on a visit last summer just after their opening. Salontea has created a vanilla chai-infused cheesecake ($5.95) with tea-infused blueberries for Richard’s cheesecake challenge.
Inside that beautifully-presented round cake are bits of chocolate as well as a chocolate-hazelnut flourless crust on top, below the fruit. This is a gluten-free option as well.
Several pots of black, rooibos, and green teas were brought out in whimsical gold-accented porcelain pots to enjoy with our cheesecake.
Salontea is located at 3010 Granville Street. Follow them on Twitter: @SalonteaCanada
Our third stop was across town at the Satori Factory, where chef Sandra Lee has masterfully created a vanilla bean apple pie cheesecake using goat and cream cheese, organic vanilla bean, and topped with ginger cinnamon crispy bits and organic apple. Satori’s entry is also gluten-free.
This was my favourite of the bunch, and complemented with a sweet artichoke tea ($3.25), made a rainy afternoon feel less dreary.
Our group sat at a long wooden table in front of the quirky space, on chairs using upcycled Singer sewing machine bases. Located at 35th and Victoria, it’s well worth seeking out for the next-door Chau Veggie Express, an equally cool space with veggie Vietnamese dishes on the menu and a living garden on the wall.
Tweet your favourite cheesecakes and photos throughout the Cheesecake Challenge using the #CheesecakeChallenge hashtag. You’ve got until March 28 to sample any or all of the 12 cheesecakes in the challenge. Voting will then take place from March 26 to March 31 online.
Our cheesecakes and drinks were courtesy of Vancouver Foodster and the participating eateries described in this article.