Library patrons create edible scenes from favorite books

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Four-year-old Preston Young of Grand Junction looks over the edible book Victoria Chavez’ entry of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” with his mother Taryn at the Mesa County Public Library’s central branch on Saturday. The Chavez entry won the contest.

The colorful, character-filled worlds that Mesa County Central Library patrons can find in novels and storybooks came to life Saturday afternoon in the building’s basement.

The library hosted its first Edible Book Contest this weekend, allowing readers to make and display a tasty treat that symbolized a scene from their favorite book. The seven entries ranged from two stacks of onion rings that represented J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” to a sliver of cherry pie representing “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel.

Victoria Chavez and her younger brothers, Adam and Alex, created two cakes, both scenes from J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”

The boys’ chocolate pound cake earned them a “most creative” award, and their sister won the “most book-like” and “people’s choice” categories. There were five award categories. Each winner received a $20 gift certificate to use at downtown businesses.

Like her brothers, Victoria crafted characters using fondant, a frosting-like substance that hardens, and placed them on a banana and chocolate swirl cake she carved into the shape of an open book.

“We have to eat this, so I had to make something delicious,” Victoria Chavez said.

She said she decided to participate in the contest because she loves baking and wanted to have something to work on over the summer. Making the confection took about a week and a half.

“I just thought I’d push myself to the next level,” she said.

Edible book festivals and competitions have taken place in libraries across the country since 2000. Trace Hillman, the local food blogger behind, and Ava Sweet Cakes owner Mande Gabelson judged Saturday’s competition and said they hope to see more like it.

“I think this community would eat it up if there were more food contests here,” Gabelson said.


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