In October of 2016, New York City hosted a first-of-its-kind festival in Williamsburg. Known as Dessert Goals, the dessert-themed event featured some of the best sweet treats of New York City’s five boroughs, and was referred to as “a day of celebration, indulgence, discovery, and deliciousness.”
The concept was the brainchild of Miraya Berke. The young professional and party planner, along with Liang Shi, founded Dessert Goals because she had a pulse on what was popular in the city and felt that since there’s a festival for just about everything, there also needed to be a festival devoted to the sweet things in life.
After a successful first run and an expansion to Los Angeles, Dessert Goals returns to New York City for the sixth time on March 23-24 at Sound River Studios in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. Besides being able to try some of the best desserts the city has to offer through vendors, festival-goers will experience complimentary candy and beverages, an Instagram Garden dedicated specifically for dessert photos, a savory Salt Bar to cleanse the palate, and more sweet surprises.
Miraya Berke recently shared with Bake Magazine how she conceived this festival, what this year’s event will feature, and what her plans are for Dessert Goals in the future.
What was your motivation for starting a festival dedicated to dessert?
In New York there's a festival for everything, from beer to vintage clothing, but in 2016 we realized there wasn't yet a festival devoted to desserts so we decided it was time to start one! There are so many unique and beautiful desserts in NYC and the festival is a place to showcase the treats under one roof and for attendees to gather for a day of discovery and decadence. Dessert Goals is the best day ever, a day devoted to fun.
What is the theme for this season’s event?
The theme of the March festival is Party Animal edition. Think colorful vibes with party animal flair. The decor and desserts will be to the theme and we encourage attendees to dress up! Here's a mood board of outfit ideas.
Dessert Goals seems to have a pretty eclectic group of vendors each festival. How do you choose them?
We curate each festival so there is no category overlap, meaning each vendor specializes in their dessert item - one donut, one macaron, one rolled ice cream, one marshmallow, etc. By limiting the categories we have to get creative beyond cookies and cakes and try to bring in unique desserts like South East Asian desserts, Brazilian cake rolls, halva, and more. Our guests get to discover and learn about new vendors and desserts they may have never heard of while also trying desserts they have seen all over Instagram and their favorite vendors who make exclusive treats for the festival. We try to have something for everyone, including a mix of gluten free and vegan desserts. Many of our vendors make exclusive desserts to the Party Animal theme that will only be available at the festival. It's a lot of research and tasting that goes into each festival! In our 7 festivals so far we have featured 135 vendors!
How did you come up with the idea for the Instagram Garden?
We eat with our eyes and the desserts at Dessert Goals are as beautiful as they are delicious, so we created a space for attendees to document their sweets. At our first venue the space was literally in an outdoor patio, so we named it the Instagram Garden. In other venues even if the space for photography isn't outside we hang backdrops on green hedges to create a garden vibe.
In the past, Dessert Goals has featured workshops for attendees. What are some examples of those?
At the first few Dessert Goals festivals we hosted workshops as ticket add-ons. Workshop topics ranged from how to start a food business to food styling and photography. We don't currently have workshops as a part of our festival but hope to bring these back for future programming.
Can you describe the Salt Bar for those unfamiliar?
When eating lots of sweets a salty snack is the perfect palate cleanse. Our Salt Bar features a range of salty snacks as a refresh so guests can eat more dessert!
What is “Dessert Goals at Night”?
For the first time we are hosting a Dessert Goals at Night party on Friday, March 22 from 8-10 p.m. Attendees will get a preview of the venue and exclusive desserts from a selection of our vendors. We've never had alcohol a part of Dessert Goals, so this will be the first time the event will feature a bar and boozy desserts. We are teaming up with Baileys for specialty cocktails and our dessert vendors are all making exclusive treats. It's also the first time we are hosting an all-inclusive event, so included with the $55 ticket is an open bar and desserts from Oddfellows Ice Cream, Spoonable Spirits, Brooklyn Floss, Sugar Monster + Tiny Kitchen Treats. There will also be many photo opportunities!
Do you plan to bring Dessert Goals to other cities beyond NYC and LA in the future?
Yes! The plan is to bring Dessert Goals to San Francisco and hopefully even more cities!