Smile Politely

The 12th Annual Edible Book Festival

The 12th Annual Edible Book Festival was held this year at the Common Ground Food Co-op in collaboration with The University of Illinois Library. Competitors made edible representations of their favorite books, and brought them to be judged along other entries. This was my first year in attendance and I was ready to discover all of the delectable edible art created by the talented foodies we have here in C-U.

At the beginning of the event there was a fun activity in which the kids in attendance made their own edible art out of fresh produce. It was wonderful to see all of the excitement and creativity pouring out of the kiddos as they worked on their edible masterpieces.

At the main event there were many intricate and delicious looking edible works of art to explore. The crowd in the hallway was thick. The happy festival goers wound around the table in wonder, sizing up the competition and looking for that special entry to vote for as People’s Choice winner. There were an abundance of creative entries and no two were alike. Some were funny, others were literal, but they all looked delicious. We have some extremely talented cooks and bakers here in our community. The competition was overseen by community judges, and this year they had kids on the judging panel. The judges selected all of the winners except for the coveted People Choice winner, that was decicion was up to the crowd.

After all of the entries were judged, it was time to wait and see who the lucky winners were. As the judges gathered the crowd encircled them, waiting anxiously to hear the finally tallies. The jovial conversation of the group was hushed as the announcement of the winners began.

Here are the winners from each category:

Based on a Children’s Book/Best Series

Lemony Snicket

Best Depiction of an Animated Character



3 Musket Ears

Best Entry for Early Readers/Picture Book

Elmer the Patchwork Elephant

Best Children’s Chapter Book

James and the Giant Peach

Best Collaboration

Rainbow Cake Room

Healthiest Entry

Monet a Visit to Giverney

Most Appetizing


Best Depiction of a Classic

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Ring, the one cake to rule the world

Best Visual Presentation

The Art of the Peel

Best Use of Animal

Fifty Shades of Hay

Best Architecture

The Wolves of Paris

Best Use of Cupcakes

Lime and Punishment

Best Depiction of Book That’s Also a Movie


Best Horror Entry

The Shining

Best Detail

Darker Shade of Magic

Best Foreign Language Book

The Little Prince

Most Interactive

J.R.R. Tolkien Books Meal

Best Pie Entry

Count of Monte Cristo

Best Historical Figures

Hidden Figures

Most Colorful

The Noisy Paintbox

People’s Choice Winner

Journey to the Center of the Earth 

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!

Once the winners were announced and awards handed out, it was time to eat. The crowd, myself included, ate almost every entry in its entirety. The eating of the art was the very best part in my opinion. One of my favorite edible art entries was the winner of Most Interactive. The Tolkien inspired oat bread was slathered in fresh creamy honey butter, and the Hobbit-esque earthy mushroom stew was warm and comforting. I could smell the delicious savory sage as wafted up in the air. I ate so much of it I barely had room for all of the beautifully constructed cakes and cupcakes, but I managed somehow.

This festival was great for foodies to connect and was super family friendly. It’s definitely something that I’ll go to again, and next time I’ll bring my boys. Maybe I’ll even make an edible creation of my own to submit. What would you make if you could recreate your favorite book into edible art?

All Photos by Rebecca Wells

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