Sweet dream: Feast on a five-course, all-dessert dinner party in West Palm Beach


There’s a dinner party at Palm Beach Meats in West Palm Beach at 7 p.m. Thursday that will feature a five-course menu. Of desserts. Just desserts.

Sweet dreams are made of this. Who am I to disagree? But is that even possible, dessert for dinner?


If anyone can pull it off, it is Anna Ross and Caroline McGinley, young rising stars on the indie baking scene in South Florida — the Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers of pastry — who will show off their originality during a culinary event called Indulge: Anna Bakes X La Gringuita.

Ross says the idea was first suggested by co-owner Eric San Pedro at Palm Beach Meats, which has a history of hosting interesting dinners. Last month, it was the setting for a four-course meal of Burmese food by chef May Aungthet of Ahmay’s Cuisine.


“We just love dessert and baking. … Once he planted the seed, it just evolved into us being really excited. We started thinking about the menu: What’s the dream for a dessert lover?” says Ross, 26.

While it’s a meal at dinner hour, comes with an optional wine pairing and will have all the atmospheric trappings of a dinner party, Ross understands that it’s not really dinner. Though she points out that people eat doughnuts for breakfast and still call it breakfast.

“We’re suggesting you eat a light early dinner and come with an appetite for dessert,” Ross says.

Each course on the Indulge menu will be a collaboration between the two bakers, offering an adventurous range of sweet and tart, light and dark, familiar and surprising, simple and luxurious.

The bright tropicality of Summer Cheesecake includes graham cracker cookie crust, guava swirl cheesecake, passion fruit curd mascarpone and whipped cream.

On the more intense end, there’s S’mores Tres Leches, with a chocolate cookie base, graham cracker cake in a toasted three-milk soak, torched meringue and Callebaut chocolate ganache.

For a course called Horchata de Mani, McGinley fills the inside of a large vanilla cookie with horchata spiced peanut custard, serving it with candied peanuts, pretzel brittle and a side of Ross’ peanut butter gelato.

A 27-year-old Jupiter resident, McGinley picked up the nickname “La Gringuita” during her travels in South America teaching English as a second language, a time when she began baking cookies for her roommates. Horchata de mani is a peanut version of the sweet spiced milk enjoyed in Spain and across Central and South America.


All of the desserts served at Indulge are new and may never be offered again, Ross says, calling the Horchata de Mani dish particularly special.

“That’s Caroline’s baby. She really wanted to do a play on horchata de mani flavor. A friend of hers, they sell that drink at their bakery, and she loves it,” Ross says. “When she explained that flavor to me and how she wanted to put it inside a cookie, I was all about it. It sounded amazing.”

McGinley offers her massive, 4.5-ounce stuffed La Gringuita gourmet cookies at local markets, including Gardens GreenMarket in Palm Beach Gardens. She also sells pouches of bake-at-home cookie dough in stores such as The Cheese Shoppe & Artisan Market in Lantana, Willy Cafe in Boynton Beach and Mima Market in Miami Shores (see Gringuita-Cookies.com).


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Lake Worth Beach native Ross began Anna Bakes out of her parents’ home during the pandemic lull in 2020. She has degrees in baking/pastry and food service management from Johnson & Wales University and a resume that includes stints at The Salty Donut, Zak the Baker, The Breakers and Aioli bakery in West Palm Beach.

Ross found her niche with a revolving lineup of themed pastry boxes sold at AnnaBakesFL.com. Her current Back to School box includes a take on Hostess cupcakes, brown sugar Pop-Tarts and a peanut butter and jelly blondie bar (two of each in a half-box for $22, or four of each in a full box for $42).

A little more than six weeks ago, she moved her baking equipment into a space in the back of Candid Coffee in West Palm Beach. She and the proprietors of the shop will soon be co-owners of a new Candid Coffee in Wellington, opening this fall.


Indulge: Anna Bakes X La Gringuita dinner costs $85, including tax and gratuity. Each course can be accompanied with an optional wine pairing (an additional $60) arranged by Brett Hartt, sommelier at Pedro’s Fine Wines inside Palm Beach Meats.

Hartt also will offer an optional nonalcoholic pairing with a variety of infused milk (for an extra $35), using small-batch milk from Sutton Farms in Okeechobee.

Indulge: Anna Bakes X La Gringuita takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, at Palm Beach Meats, 4812 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $85 at AnnaBakesFL.com.

Staff writer Ben Crandell can be reached at bcrandell@sunsentinel.com. FollowIG: @BenCrandell andTW: @BenCrandell.


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