Perhaps one of the best things about planning a wedding is discovering all of the incredible local vendors available to Twin Cities brides. One thing that Tom and I said we wanted to do from the very beginning was show off our incredible city by using as many local vendors as possible. It wasn't difficult. The difficult thing, by far, was narrowing it down and choosing the ones that worked best with our vision for our wedding. One of those vendors was Cocoa & Fig, an incredible couple whose passion for all things beautiful and sweet are evident in their work. I think it was somewhat luck and somewhat destiny that our paths crossed. On a whim, I decided to enter a contest through the Independent Wedding Fair for a $1,000 dessert table from Cocoa & Fig. I never win anything. I actually have pretty terrible luck but I thought, eh, why not. Couldn't hurt. I crafted a delightfully cheesy wedding Haiku for my entry, and low and behold, was randomly chosen as the winner. Wahoo! We set up an appointment with Cocoa & Fig and headed out to Shakopee for the consultation. I didn't know a lot about this dessert company, except for indulging in the goodies at its skyway store in Gaviidae Common, so I was anxious to hear what it was all about. Our GPS took us to an address down the street from Valleyfair to a cute little business complex that almost looked like a large home. There was no sign outside the building but the aromas coming from the building, and a quick peek into a window showing a large kitchen and plenty of baked goods, made it apparent we were in the right spot.
Half of the duo, Joe Lin, immediately came to meet us in the hallway. He gave us a warm welcome and ushered us into one of their tasting rooms before we dug into the good stuff. One of the things I truly appreciated in talking with Joe was learning about his business and having the time to really get to know what Cocoa & Fig was all about. He started with, perhaps, the most important story—the one of how he first met and fell in love with Laurie Pyle (co-owner of Cocoa and Fig). He told us about their journey through the culinary world, and the financial district, and how it took them several different places until they landed here. Laurie, a Shakopee native, took her passion for cooking and baking and combined it with Joe's business knowledge and financial skills to open up a bakery off the beaten path, but still within the metro. The two are in the midst of planning a wedding themselves (yay!) so truly understand the needs and wants of a future bride and groom. I absolutely loved the fact that Joe asked us about our story: how we met, how wedding planning was going, and what we wanted for our special day. I won't name names but I can't tell you how many vendors we've met with that treated us like just another number. I completely understand that everyone is running a business and at the end of the day, that's the bottom line, but when it comes to being a wedding vendor, I feel like you need to make a special effort. For most of us, we're only planning to have one wedding (knock on wood) so even though we may be the 20th bride you've seen this week, it's important to make us feel like we're the only one. And that's just what Cocoa & Fig did. At no point did they rush us or tell us they had another appointment waiting in the wings. The entire meeting was a treat—and speaking of treats, let's dive into the good stuff.
The tasting at Cocoa & Fig is no joke. Joe brought us two plates full of his incredible desserts. Some may scoff at the notion that they charge $30 for their tastings but after seeing the spread, it's well worth the money. We started off with the cupcakes—everything from their version of a red velvet (this one's a black velvet to avoid using dyes) to a scrumptious vanilla cupcake with vanilla bean buttercream. My favorite, by far, was the carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting. They pack the cake full of fruit to truly elevate the flavors and create a perfect bite. Next up was their signature collection of mini desserts—treats almost too cute to eat. The dark chocolate shooters were a big hit with Tom who may or may not have finished his then tried to go after mine. Layered with crushed chocolate cookies, Valrhona chocolate pudding, and topped with fresh whipped cream, these little desserts were heavenly. I also rather enjoyed the Key Lime pie shooter, which tasted like a perfectly deconstructed version of the real thing. The cake lollipops were incredible—vanilla cake dipped in vanilla frosting was my favorite but Tom was all about the chocolate cake dipped in chocolate frosting. Clearly, there was a distinct theme with Tom. The fresh fruit tartlets added a nice contrast to the somewhat rich, yet delicious other varietals, while the French macaroons were some of the best I've ever had. We left completely stuffed, on a slight sugar high, and extremely excited to have a chance to work with such passionate people. And while we initially struggled to make a decision on which vendor to choose, we quickly discovered choosing between these incredible desserts is much more difficult. Still, at least the food coma provides a nice distraction.