Lush and Local
Not only does Elizabeth Hodes, 212-942-6000, elizabethhodes.com, create some of the most exquisite handcrafted sugar decorations we’ve seen, she also uses local organic ingredients whenever possible. Elizabeth, who works out of her Manhattan studio, gets her eggs from the Greenmarket and homemade preserves from upstate New York. Her specialty is extremely lifelike hand-sculpted sugar flowers, such as hydrangeas and daffodils, and other meticulously detailed edible art. Looking at her handiwork—shiny blown-sugar grapes, 3-D gumpaste dragons, delicate rice paper butterflies—it’s hard to believe this virtuoso is entirely self-taught, simply by method of trial and error. Here, this fondant-covered cake is accented with gumpaste peonies and blown-sugar orioles on pulled-sugar branches. Serves 75, $15 per slice.