News & Features

Donut Fest 2015

January 28 2015 - 9:00 AM

The second annual Donut Fest was held Sunday morning at 1st Ward Events in Chop Shop. If you have lived in Chicago for any amount of time, it is easy to tell that we take our donuts very seriously. There are countless options around the city, and some of them have even ranked as the best donuts in the country (Looking at you, Doughnut Vault + Do-Rite!). I had the pleasure of attending this sugar-filled event last year, and have been anxiously counting down the days until this year’s festival.

The event hosts just over 10 donut shops, all competing to win the ultimate prize: a donut trophy naming them the Best Donut Shop in Chicago. Options this year included Glazed & Infused, Beaver’s, Firecakes, West Town Bakery, Stan’s, Donut Den, Scafuri Bakery, Goddess and the Grocer, Lee Donuts, Swedish Bakery, and Sweet Cakes. Tickets also included one hot chocolate from Xoco, tea from David’s, and coffee from Dark Matter, Chicago Coffees, Bowtruss, and Big Shoulders.

After a thorough analysis (read: eating donuts at an alarmingly fast rate) my top three donuts were from West Town, Firecakes, and Sweet Cakes. West Town bakery showcased their donut and croissant hybrid, known as a “Doughssant.” It consisted of house-made blueberry jam, lemon cream, white chocolate, and slivered almonds. It was also the size of my hand, so that might have a bit to do with why I loved it so much. Interestingly, West Town also had my favorite donut from last year: a beer and pretzel concoction that became one of the fan favorites. Go West Town Bakery! Update: West Town Bakery won the peoples’ choice award for the second year in a row.

A close second was the vanilla bean donut from Firecakes. which was rather simple but tasted fresh and flafor vorful. Unlike most vanilla donuts, this one did not taste like straight sugar. Instead, it actually tasted like real vanilla bean. They also offered donuts that were a lot larger than many other vendors (most stuck to a donut that was 1/4 – 1/2 the normal size), so that might be a recurring theme in my favorites’ list. Update: Firecakes won the judges’ choice award.

And finally, my last favorite was the banana donut with a peanut butter glaze and mesquite smoked sea salt from Sweet Cakes. There  few combinations that taste better than banana and peanut butter, so it was only natural that I loved this one so much. I even tried to steal a second one from my friend, but apparently we were both a little overprotective of our beloved donuts.

Donut Fest is a really great family-friendly event for everyone. Unlike some of the other food festivals in Chicago, the price for admission is not a triple-digit number. It costs $30-35 per ticket, which includes donuts from all vendors, coffee, tea, a “Donut Fest” tote bag, and coupons for future visits. The sugar-induced coma that you will inevitably face is, of course, free of charge. Unfortunately, the event only happens once per year. Fortunately, that is probably a good thing for my waist line. If you missed the event today, be sure to check out some of the many fantastic donut places in Chicago. As for me, I’ll start the countdown until next year’s Donut Fest. 364 days and counting.