Simply fried, piled high with toppings or lightly dusted with powdered sugar — no matter how you dress it, there’s no shortage of reasons for loving doughnuts. “It’s one of those foods that sort of crosses cultures and everyone has a version of a fried dough,” says Rebecca Skoch, event organizer for Donut Fest in Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit and New York City. “I think they’re really accessible to a lot of people and people sort of have a nostalgic childhood connection to them.” Although tickets are sold out for the fourth annual event Feb. 8, Skoch gives us an inside look on what ticket holders can expect and how such a delicious event comes together.Old Sport
With 17 vendors, there’s a plethora of treats to sample, including over-the-top, Instagram-worthy Peace Love and Little Donuts and craft beer-infused Brewnuts. This year, two old school classics are joining the festival for the first time: Biagio’s Donut Shop and Pizzeria, which opened in Eastlake in 1963, and Maggie’s Doughnuts, which opened in 1959. “It lets us champion local bakeries and people who have been making doughnuts for years,” says Skoch.
As in year’s past, a panel of judges will decide and announce the winners of a number of categories at the end of the event including Best Raised Doughnut, Best Filling and Most Attractive. Guests will also be able to cast their votes for Crowd Favorite. Last year, Joe Maxx Coffee Co. won over judges with a simple, blueberry cake doughnut. “Sometimes it’s the simplicity of those old school doughnuts that’s so alluring,” says Skoch. “It’s really anyone’s game.”
Wash everything down with special roasted coffees from locally sourced coffee roasters such as Obvious Coffee Co., a small-batch Twinsburg-based roaster, and Mocina Coffee, which specializes in a single-origin coffee crafted from beans acquired in Guatemala. “When I started doing this four years ago in Cleveland, there wasn’t much of a coffee roaster presence and now that’s sort of blowing up,” says Skoch. “We sort of hit our stride with coffee companies.”