Interview with Jessica Tupper, the Seattle Dessert Geek with Victoria Cooksey

If you are visiting Seattle, WA and want to know the best spots for chocolate and desserts then check out Jessica Tupper, the Seattle Dessert Geek.  Between Jessica’s website, YouTube channel and Instagram account you will find a ton of useful information and dessert recommendations.

And now for the interview:

Jessica Tupper, the Seattle Dessert Geek

Victoria Cooksey:  What inspired you to focus on desserts?

Jessica Tupper:  Allergies!  Well, kind of.

I started blogging way back in 2011, and back then I was covering more general stuff.  (The first major food event I covered was Tales of the Cocktail). I took a break to graduate from grad school and when I got out I knew I wanted a niche.  Thing was, when I was covering, all food my sensitivities had been making things tough.  As in, I can’t eat raw tomatoes, cilantro, or be around any kind of cooked eggs.  Makes it slightly hard to cover brunches out here. 

At some point I sat down and thought about what kinds of foods I talked about and realized it was mainly sweet stuff.  And since my only real dessert sensitivity is coffee, I decided to give it a go!

V.C.:  When you choose a chocolate dessert for yourself, do the attributes of the chocolate component of a dessert guide you in your choice?  If so, what characteristics do you look for?

J.T.:  I’m pretty component-focused.  That’s more because the chocolates I tend to see used in plated and bakery desserts are ones with very strong “chocolaty” notes, like what you get from a bittersweet Callebaut, or Valrhona’s Manjari.  You only see the really international chocolate pairings in confections, bars and places where the chef has the budget to get experimental. 

I like plated desserts that have different textures and some kind of sweet-savory balance, so I look for those keywords in menus.

V.C.:  Do you have any favorite or unusual chocolate pairings you enjoy? If so, what are they?

J.T.:  My favorite pairings…honestly, s’mores.  I would make so many s’mores given the time and opportunity.  Also, tea with chocolate; though I’m more likely to make bubble tea right now given this weather. 

V.C.:  What chocolate-containing dessert has surprised you the most recently?

J.T.:  Churros and xocolata at 180 in Portland! I was having a super crud morning and was grumpy and whiny and just wanted food. (I got splashed with water during my first time riding a TriMet bus by a passenger mad at someone else, no joke), The staff member helping me was super sweet and we built a nice sampler platter, including churros and a tiny shot of their xocolata. 

Their traditional churros are very lightly spiced, and tiny, so I wasn’t expecting much.  But it was a nicely velvety drinking chocolate and they paired together great for dunking!  Made my morning far less awful. 

V.C.:  What are some must-see spots for craft chocolate, chocolate desserts, or chocolate beverages you recommend checking out when people are visiting Seattle, WA?

J.T:  This is not a full list, more of some of the major highlights.

Craft chocolate:

Indi Chocolate:  Their recent expansion in Pike Place Market is beautiful, and a cute way to see chocolate being made.

Theo Chocolate.  Make sure to get on the tour.  It’s $10, and a chance to see the largest craft bean-to-bar facility in Washington state. The winnower alone is the size of a car!

Chocolate desserts:

Truffles at Intrigue Chocolate.  Because they make everything bagel truffles and they work.  Go in for a tasting and try a truffle or two. 

Hot Cakes, Hot Cakes Molten Creamery, Capitol Hill Location.  Hot Cakes’ signature dish is still an excellently gooey chocolate delight.  I’m more a fan of their experimental versions, like the sheep’s cheese custard (which you should order with soft serve).  I’m noting the Cap Hill location because it’s bigger and the lines are almost always shorter. 

Chocolate beverages:

Hot Zombie, Intrigue Chocolate.  This is only available the first Thursday of each month from about 6-8 pm, and worth it.  Intrigue takes all their spare truffles and turns them into hot chocolate with heavy cream, sea salt, and sugar.  It is an experience that you need to try (ideally with friends). And it’s free!

Chocolate chaud, Cafe Presse.  Their chocolat chaud is basically warm pudding served with a giant quenelle of whipped cream.  Glorious. 

Doughnuts & Chocolate:  Fran’s Chocolates, downtown location.  This is my “secret” (in that I’ve told my entire Instagram feed): go to Daily Dozen Doughnut Co. in Pike Place Market, get a half dozen cinnamon sugar mini doughnuts (bring cash).  Walk straight to Fran’s and order a hot chocolate.  Eat the doughnuts dunked in the hot chocolate.  (This will get messy, so please let them know what your’re up to and keep it clean.  Or, if it’s nice out, go outside!). 

V.C.:  Which craft chocolate bars are in your current stash?

J.T.:  Let me state first I have a bar hoarding problem.  (Which means my friends get gifted with bars all the time).

Brands you will generally find in my stash, in alphabetical order:

Askinosie.  Especially the white chocolate with cacao nibs.  They’re the first bean-to-bar brand I got into that wasn’t local.

Fruition. Toasted white, brown butter, and the flor de sel bars are usually somewhere in there.

Patric Chocolate. I’m in love with the PBJ OMG and Brown Butter bars.

Solstice. They’re making some super solid bars right now, especially in the blends – that surprised me last year at the NW Chocolate Festival.

Soma. THAT RASPBERRY BAR.  I can’t even with that bar.

Theo and Indi. I shouldn’t lump them together, it’s that I use them together as gift bars for people starting in chocolate.  There’s always a stash of them in my collection. 

Thank you Jessica Tupper the Seattle Dessert Geek for this interview!

Jessica Tupper the Seattle Dessert Geek:

Jessica’s Seattle Dessert Geek YouTube video channel:

Victoria Cooksey:

Victoria’s craft chocolate review videos, chocolate chat, and cooking video channel:

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