WOW ..x@!#* We (Michael, Callie, RaChelle, Sharon, Adam, and Mary) have officially become Wisconsin Cheesecake Heads and didn't believe that there could be such a difference in not only the taste of cheesecake, but also with the service in which it is presented. Our first stop was to trial Suzy's Cheesecakes. Since we had never been to a "cheesecake tasting", our imaginations of how this event would evolve where elevated to the heights of what we knew to be the uppity WINE sniffing, swishing, and swallowing. Not so with cheesecake. Soon after we found our way to the delightful flower shoppe called Urban Scents we were greeted by a gentleman who asked if we had someone doing the flowers. We apologetically responded "Yes, We are doing the flowers." where upon he quickly pointed us to the glass table in a corner of the store. The first disappointment was that the table was empty-yes, I mean void of cheesecake!!!! Our leashed angst was diminished when we were slipped a portfolio of cheesecakes to meander. Soon to follow was another request of "Do you have someone doing your flowers?" With greater confidence and a smile, we responded with "Yes, we have someone doing our flowers." While everyone perused the photos, I was strategically positioned to watch the process of getting the samples ready for testing. Open containers and drooling employees surrounded the floral workbench while the service platter was being loaded. I realized that they were all getting tanked on the "cheese" when the plate came with the 3 crumbs of "cake". We all struggled with a Freudian flip flop between "do we have to share this" and "I'm sure more is coming." We resolved to accept what we were given and repeatedly licked our forks for every last dim of decadence. By now we have enough questions to seem more knowledgeable than the woman fielding. Finally after several "I don't knows, that picture-we don't do that, it's never been done, you'll have to do that yourself, and the summer night air will be too warm for cheesecake" she snarls "WE'RE JUST THE HANDLERS". While we are waiting for the answer to our closing question regarding what it will cost to have the cheesecake handled to Port Washington, we are asked for the third time "Do you have someone doing the flowers?"
RESULT: We unanimously agreed that the best sample was the New York cake and that we should personally fly to NYC to get a New York style cake for each table and make the dessert the centerpiece.
Stop number 2, Gourmet Cheesecakes and More, was Cheesecake Central; obviously focused on making cheesecakes. Many, many displays. The presentation of samples came to us in greater quantity AND taste. However once again, requests regarding simple customizing i.e. making a square cake instead of a round even if we bought the pans, were denied with the statement "we don't do that." RaChelle's critical thinking snapped into gear when she realized that they must have some super ovens to be able to bake a 16 inch cheesecake with amazing consistency and no evidence of cracking. The evidence mounted when the alcohol in the grasshopper cc gave us a buzz and the crust detatched from the raspberry cheese filling exposing the impostor jello-cheesecake. Nonetheless, we ate so much that we were ready to throw up.
RESULT: The best was the NY style. However, we decided to create our own jello cheesecake recipe and form it into a cheesecake ball so the guests can play catch between courses.
Stop number 3, Simma's Bakery, was not at all planned, rather a call of desperation that went something like "Do you have an opening, if someone cancels..., can we just come, we don't mind if noone chats with us..., please-you don't even have to give us samples." We were impelled to end our journey with some kind of resolve even if it meant gaining 5 MORE pounds within the next 90 minutes. Up to this point, the only options had been butter cream frosting, round, plastic columns/pedestals, strawberries for fresh fruit, non-organic ingredients, no faux layers, and only indicated colors. Well....in this establishment we are handed 4-5 design portfolios (guess what..they can do any of them), free water, free coffee, and free choice of any sample we desired from the display case. Our options included fondant, genache, or butter cream wrapping, square, color to match fabric swatches sprayed with iridescence, faux layers, silver/bronze or BYO pedestals, variety of fresh fruit, cake crust or no crust, and in addition the possibly cage free/organic ingredients and cocoa dusting.
RESULT: The cheesecake will be layered squares to form steps, cocoa dusted, with a draped chartreuse bow and an intermezzo of sugared pears and edible violets. The center flavor will be a surprise. So is the cost- $400 + $35 pedestal rental + $65 delivery, but well worth it.