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Oxford bakers enjoy fourth win at Cookie Gala

Scott Eschelbach and Debbie Meyers, co-owners of the Sweet & Savory Bake Shop in downtown Oxford, savor their fourth victory at the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan's annual Cookie Gala. They won the Cookie Diva's Choice Award for the dessert they created using the classic peanut butter/chocolate cookies known as Tagalongs. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
April 09, 2014 - Sweet & Savory Bake Shop has a big fan in Glenda Lewis.

The reporter/anchor for WXYZ Channel 7's news team personally selected the downtown Oxford bakery to receive the first-ever Cookie Diva's Choice Award at the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan's annual Cookie Gala fund-raiser held March 26 at DTE Energy headquarters in Detroit.

"Glenda Lewis is what they call the Cookie Diva," explained Debbie Meyers, who co-owns Sweet & Savory with Scott Eschelbach. "She's kind of like the Girl Scout cookie mascot for southeastern Michigan. She's been involved with it for 10 years."

Sweet & Savory earned the award for a dessert it created by transforming and elevating Girl Scout cookies known as Tagalongs into a decadent, gourmet treat.

"It was fabulous," Meyers said. "We were so excited. For it to be from Glenda and (this being) her first year choosing (a winner), it was extra special."

Sweet & Savory was one of 10 restaurants and bakeries that competed at this year's Cookie Gala. They each had to create either a delectable dessert or tantalizing appetizer using Girl Scout cookies as part of the recipe.

Tagalongs are crispy vanilla cookies layered with peanut butter and covered with a chocolate coating.

Meyers explained they used Tagalong cookies to create a brownie that was then topped with a mixture of feuilletine (crispy wafer-flakes), peanut butter and chocolate ganache, plus a slice of fresh banana.

Everything was then enrobed in rich chocolate and served on a plate next to two mousses – one stripe of peanut butter and one stripe of banana.

"The banana was an Elvis inspiration," Meyers explained. "They always talk about Elvis loving peanut and banana sandwiches . . . We always try to incorporate fruit into our dessert. I figured if it's good enough for Elvis, it's good enough for everybody."

Although the dessert is currently not available at the 9 S. Washington St. bakery, Meyers said they will probably start making and selling them after Easter.

"We do have lots of cookies left," she said.

Sweet & Savory has been participating in the Cookie Gala for five years now and this is the bakery's fourth award.

"It feels extra special because we're up against beautiful, upscale restaurants like The Lark (in Bloomfield Township) and The Hill in Grosse Pointe (Farms)," Meyers said. "For us to be a winner among those people, it's just really special because plated desserts aren't what we do every day."

"I really do put a lot of effort and a lot of thought into (each year's dessert) because I know I'm up against that kind of competition," she added. "I want us to shine just as much as everybody else to make Oxford proud."

That being said, Meyers explained that she and Eschelbach participate in the Cookie Gala not for awards or business promotion, but for the sheer fun and pure joy of it.

"The people who put it on are gracious and lovely," she said. "The people who attend are just so much fun. It's gotten to be where they remember us and we remember them. It's almost like a little family gathering of hundreds of people.

"Everybody's happy. Everybody's in the room eating 10 different desserts and having such a great time. And it raises money for the Girl Scouts."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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