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2012 World Pastry Championship

The Olympics of the pastry world was full of astonishing deserts and sometimes tragic results.

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The highlight of the competition is always the showpieces at the end. Each team has to create one showpiece made of sugar and one of chocolate. This year's theme was astrology and it was interesting to see how each team interpreted that for their showpieces. There are very strict rules in terms of the type of shapes they can use and what equipment is permissible or not. They also must transport their showpieces from their stations to the display table. Many a heart has been broken when a showpiece shatters. 

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The Pastry Chef’s Baking

Carol Ramos trained to be a pastry chef at the Culinary Institute of America and has her certification in baking and pastry arts, but she has never baked professionally. Baking is just something she loves to do. Her blog chronicles her baking odyssey as she tests out different recipes. Her goals are to share her love of baking and convert people into becoming bakers, one dessert at a time.

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My pictures do not do these showpieces any justice. They're much more impressive in person. The lighting was poor in some places and it was difficult to get a clean shot of the displays with so many people around. You can't exactly ask a judge blocking the display table to step aside during their judging so you could take a good picture.  Bear in mind, each showpiece is made out of entirely chocolate or entirely sugar, nothing else, rendering them even more incredible.

South Korea was heartbreaking because in transporting their chocolate showpiece, half of it fell off. They could only put the other half out for judging. Then shortly after the judging began, the sugar showpiece toppled.

As a spectator, I could only get close enough to the teams on the ends to really see what they were working on. Team Japan was on one end but they had a large contingent of supporters so it was hard to get really close. Team USA had the most supporters because of the competition's home-country location so it was also hard to squeeze in on that end but I got lucky a couple of times and managed to get up close. 

I saw their  sugar rooster "come to life" before my eyes and it was nothing short of amazing. On Day 1, I could see all the elements being put together but since I didn't know what they were building, it was hard to picture it. But once it did all come together, literally before my eyes, it was beyond mind-boggling that what you see above is all made out of sugar. Sugar, water and some food coloring. Astonishing. Hats off to all the chefs in the competition.
I didn't stay for the awards dinner and I'm still waiting for the website to be updated but I believe I heard Team USA won!  Based on showpieces alone, I would've gone with either Team Japan or Team USA so I'm glad one of my top 2 favorites took the championship. 

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