I had asked friends to come to the Fourth Havemeyer Sugar Sweets Festival with me today but they backed out. I was not only left confounded as to why anyone wouldn’t want to go to a giant bake sale, I was also left not really wanting to go myself.
But this is where the power of todaysthedayi kicks in. Because of course I went – and of course I was so glad that I had.
What I particularly loved was how the best treat of the day didn’t end up being of the baked variety. Instead, it was discovering the museum where it was held – the City Reliquary. I have walked down Metropolitan Street in Williamsburg, where it lives, hundreds of times and yet I never noticed this place – it looks pretty scrappy so I probably just shrugged it off as another hole in the wall.
But in fact, it’s fascinating. It has two rooms filled with New York memorabilia – the sort of stuff that collectors would drool over: Statue of Liberty trinkets, old-fashioned postcards, bricks from renovated buildings, garish figurines.
The second room was a little more food-focused – and had some fascinating old recipes on yellowed cards.
The rooms gave way to a mini garden, and this is where the Sugar Sweets Festival was held. It wasn’t like the other food fairs I’ve been to this year; rather than companies providing the cakes, most were given by home bakers bidding for prizes. There was a judges’ table but others were filled with treats for us to buy.
I picked up a couple of grape jelly-filled tarts, which had won the prize in the Best Seasonal Recipe category, and a couple of chunky cookies. I also well for a cup of chai-flavored roasted peanuts. This stuff was unbelievable – peanuts and chunks of apple cooked and coated in brown sugar and indian spices. They filled me up pretty quickly.
There was also a stage for announcements and music, but I didn’t stay around to hear any more winners, as they were being read out throughout the afternoon. Instead I took my time walking through the museum’s little rooms before heading back into the mania of Williamsburg.
I am so glad I went here today – less for those chunky cookies, more for discovering this twee corner of Brooklyn.