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SVCI Cake Pop Factory Aims to Spread Holiday Cheer
Wednesday, December 8, 2021


Claudia Fiaschetti thrust her hand into a freshly baked red velvet cake and pulled out a handful of cake, which she crumbled in her hand.

“This is the funnest part of the whole operation. Oh, and then it gets better as you add frosting and cream cheese and work it together until it’s like Play-Doh,” she said.

Fiaschetti is part of a cake pop assembly line that has been working for days to create upwards of 500 cake pops for the Sun Valley Culinary Institute’s Holiday Market.

The market will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 18 and 19, at the Culinary Institute on Main Street Ketchum. But, first, there’s a lot of cookie baking, toffee making and creating of cheesecake bites and macaroons needing to be done.

Dozens of culinary elves, wearing reindeer antlers and Christmas trees on their heads, have been assembled by Mindy Meads, who chairs the board of the Culinary Institute.

They’ve rolled cookie balls, stuck sticks in them, crowned them with icing, then decorated them with an array of toffee pieces, sprinkles and glitter that have left the kitchen counter looking like a chemistry lab.

“It’s very creative—like letting your mind wander,” said Fiaschetti.

Meads got a penchant for making candy on sticks from her mother who fashioned lollipops for the neighborhood kids. When Meads took over from her mother, she quickly became known as “The Lollipop Lady.”

“Now, I’m going to be known as the Cake Pop Lady,” she said.

Under Mead’s supervision, volunteers have made vanilla cake pops, red velvet ones and brownie pops, walking the fine line between icing that is too soft and too warm as they create individual masterpieces the size of ping pong balls.

“They taste like a cake explosion in your mouth,’ said Carrie Morrow. “I grew up eating popsicles on sticks so this takes me back to my childhood. Making them is festive, fun, communal, creative. You can do whatever you want and it’s okay.”

Meads, a self-confessed “Food Network” junkie, says she has fallen in love with the Sun Valley Culinary Institute’s food enthusiast classes and its new professional school.

“I look at the students in our first class and see how they have blossomed in the first two months we’ve had them,” she said.

Morrow has taken a plethora of cooking classes at the Institute so she’s only too happy to help out with the market, which will raise funds for the Institute.

“I’m a big fan and I want to see it succeed,” she said.




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