Dessert tasting to benefit community gardening organization

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By: Geoff Lesar
glesar@elkharttruth.com

Photo supplied/Sean Wojtkowski

Tango and Cash. Abbott and Costello. Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Hops and hazelnut.

Indulgence Pastry Shop & Cafe and Unity Gardens are partnering with other South Bend businesses for an especially sweet fundraiser.

A Night of Indulgence will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at the DoubleTree hotel in South Bend, 123 N. Saint Joseph St., featuring a three-course offering of chocolate confections paired with wine and beer. Tickets are $30 and space is limited to 150 attendees.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to support Unity Gardens, a nonprofit community gardening organization now in its fifth year.

“A year ago, our event funds went into the general fund,” said Sara Stewart, founder and executive director of Unity Gardens. “This event will help support seeds, tools, wheelbarrows — items that aren’t covered by our general fund.”

Stewart’s vision for the organization is rooted in education and aims “to increase the availability, awareness and accessibility of healthy, locally grown food,” according to an online mission statement.

“Through my store, we are always willing to help the community through various organizations,” said Sean Wojtkowski, pastry chef and owner of Indulgence Pastry Shop & Cafe. “They’re providing fresh food and it’s a great mission. What they do on the other side – the teaching and educating – is phenomenal.”

Wojtkowski said the menu will include a raspberry chocolate flourless cake, a baked chocolate doughnut filled with hazelnut crunch and a bittersweet chocolate mousse topped with a marbled milk and white chocolate cream.

“We always do something chocolate paired with nuts,” said Wojtkowski. “Also, a chocolate paired with fruit. Last year, it was cherries; this year, raspberries.”

South Bend-based design shop Junk Evolution, known for its monthly-rotated inventory of re-purposed and vintage goods, will be donating centerpieces for each table of eight to be auctioned near the conclusion of the event. Local beverage distributor City-Wide Liquors is furnishing the libations and area roasters Zen Coffee will provide the perk if the sugar doesn’t work.

Unity Gardens’ reach within the community has steadily grown since its inception, and Stewart believes it is here to stay.

“The five-year mark is important from a nonprofit standpoint,” said Stewart. “The community has embraced the permanence of our presence. We are going to be here forever and, hopefully, replicate it across the nation.”

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