By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent
Since the Gainesville location’s opening last August, 4 Rivers Smokehouse has made quite an impact in the barbeque realm. Among its many hearty menu items, from the prime rib to my personal favorite, the Texas Destroyer sandwich, this smokey haven provides another draw-in: the Sweet Shop. At this plentifully-stocked bakery, 4 Rivers has truly adapted to the seasons in the most creative of styles, from a bevy of pumpkin and caramel-draped desserts during fall to the latest selection of St. Patrick’s Day goodies. As the green-themed, Irish-lovers holiday approaches, the Sweet Shop has outdone themselves with three desserts available for indulging until March 17, and my friend Carol, image above, and I had to try them out.
Green Shamrock Whoopie Pie: What would St. Patrick’s Day be without a lucky charm? In this case, a whoopie pie the size of an outstretched hand fits the mold. The Sweet Shop has transformed their red velvet whoopie pie into a shamrock-shaped cake/pie/cookie creation fit for a king, although you would never guess it was red velvet by its vibrant green coloring. The cream cheese frosting made in-house was sandwiched in a thick layer between two shamrock-shaped cake layers. The consistency is more comparable to that of a thicker, soft-baked cookie, which I find most appealing, with a white chocolate drizzle that rounds it out. Carol thought it was the best-rounded dessert she’s tried at the Sweet Shop.
Bailey’s-Frosted Guinness Cupcake: The item name says it all: double chocolate cupcake infused with Guinness stout and coated with a layer of chocolate ganache beneath a heaping dollop of Bailey’s Irish Cream-flavored frosting. The sweet cream and Bailey’s meld in a sweet, fluffy frosting combination, while the Guinness flavor truly shines in the cake. However, it’s the smooth, decadent chocolate ganache that ties it all together and cuts the richness of the cream cheese with the cake. Well, it’s that and the green, white chocolate shamrock adorned on top. This gives the term “chocolate wasted” a whole new meaning.
Semisweet Chocolate Guinness Brownie with Grasshopper Frosting: This had to be my favorite dessert of the trio, but I am biased to any kind of chocolate brownie. However, this was no ordinary brownie, as it had all the most amazing parts of any dessert with a slightly crispy outer edging, Guinness-infused fudgy brownie middle, and even an Oreo cookie bottom crust. It was the grasshopper frosting, though, created by the combination of mint and cookies and cream flavors that truly separated this dessert from the bunch.
The sweet shop delivers an overwhelmingly savory experience yet again, acclimating to the festive holiday in a unique style all its own. For that, this Eating Adventurer’s taste buds and sweet tooth say “Thank you!”