By Selena Fragassi
For Sun-Times Media
We came, we conquered: Donut Fest 2014. The inaugural edition of the (hopefully) yearly celebration at Wicker Park’s Chop Shop/1st Ward Events was a huge success Sunday, selling out in eight hours, crowning “Chicago’s Best Doughnut” and giving curious locals the taste of more than a baker’s dozen of our city’s best vendors in one tasty stop.
The judges had their say (among them one of the city’s finest and the Langham Chicago Pastry Chef Scott Green), giving the esteemed title to Endgrain’s Honey Glazed Doughscuit, while the People’s Choice Award named West Town’s Beer and Pretzel creation the best. Here’s how our favorites stacked up after trying all 15 samples and waking up from our sugar coma.
1. Endgrain’s Honey Glazed Doughscuit
2. Doughnut Vault’s Vanilla Glazed Donut
3. West Town Bakery’s beer and pretzel doughnt
People’s Choice Award:
1. West Town Bakery’s beer and pretzel Doughnut
2. Endgrain’s honey glazed doughscuit
3. Donut Den’s French toast doughnut
1. Scafuri Bakery’s Nutella Bombolini – an airy cake with Nutella filling, espresso glaze and toasted hazelnuts from a classic Taylor street bakery that’s been around since 1904. The decadent combination of flavors could have overpowered this concoction and made it too sweet after one bite, yet it was matched with a light cake base that absorbed the unique tastes and made it just right.
2. Chop Shop’s Duck fried blueberry-filled glazed doughnut – Sounds like a Hot Doug collaboration, and just like the famous fries at his shack, Chop Shop’s choice of using duck fat in their creation worked to make it super savory treat with a rich filling of blueberry compote. If you’re looking for a mixture of sweet and savory, this is your pick.
3. Endgrain’s honey glazed “Doughscuit” – We can’t disagree with this winner, which placed in the top three in both the judge’s and people’s choice categories. A hybrid between a donut and a biscuit, it’s filled with a smattering of crème fraiche and honey glaze. Move over cronut!
1. Berrista’s “no refined sugar” donuts – This is a little too futuristic for us. Homaro Cantu’s to-be-opened coffee shop will offer these baked goods, made with lemon, that ask you to take a freeze-dried berry tablet which blocks the sour receptors to make it taste like it’s super sweet without the damaging effects of refined sugar.
2. Beavers Donut’s bite-size S’more and Turtle bites – Mini doughnut holes come in a variety of flavors; look for their food truck around town.
3. City Dough’s Cinnamon Sugar Old-Fashioned – Tastes more like the topping of an apple crumble and very crunchy, if you like that sort of thing.
4. Fritz’s Blueberry chocolate crumb – The tart and fresh blueberries are matched well with a semi-sweet chocolate topper. Find them at Wormhole and other boutique cafes.
Glazed and Infused
5. Glazed and Infused’s Maple bacon glazed long john – Incredible flavor profile with a stick of bacon on top. And only $2!
6. Firecakes’ Peanut butter cup doughnut – Sweet teeth will love the combo of peanut butter mousse, chocolate ganache and peanut brittle.
7. Gurnee Donut’s Glazed Buttermilk – A classic doughnut if we’ve ever had one.
8. Reuters’ Classic cake doughnut – Classic sure, but also a modern take with a mixture of orange and rum in the batter.
9. Swedish Bakery’s Chocolate custard Bismarck – Might be more Boston than Chicago-style with a thick layer of lemon custard.