Sweet streets: Gelatin dessert art at this weekend’s Street Food Festival

Pub date August 17, 2011
SectionPixel Vision

As the foodie masses descend on the Mission for Sat/20’s Street Food Festival, they’ll be met with a diverse representation of what San Francisco eats. In this corner, fancy brick and mortar spots: Slanted Door, 15 Romolo, and Rye are but a few representatives of the eateries that are taking grills and spatulas into the fresh air this weekend. But for sheer culinary comeliness, the big guys have a serious contender when it comes to Sweets Collection arty gelatin creations. 

Graduates of the La Cocina street food incubator program will total a solid 50 percent of the 60 vendors in attendance at the festival. The varying styles of food preparation are meant to express the breadth of eats in San Francisco, but also to reinforce the fact that the huarache you buy at your local farmer’s market has the culinary chops to stand up against many places that take Visa.

According to the website, in a perfect world the festival would “get rid of all the white tents, and just do it block party style, but that’s not so cool with the Health Department, so you will have to imagine it with us.”

Rosa Rodriguez would surely be invited if the fest turned into a block party. She lives in the Mission, and has been creating her Sweets Collection intricate gelatin creations, in which graceful flowers bloom in edible gel, for a year now. We mentioned certain circumstances under which her treats might prove particularly awesome in the paper today, and here’s more on Rodriguez from an email interview we conducted with her last week. (You can also check out food writer Virginia Miller’s adventuresome picks for the fest here.) 

Sweets Collection got its name when Rodriguez realized her treats wouldn’t look amiss in an art gallery

SFBG: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you start Sweets Collection?

RR: My name is Rosa Rodriguez, I have two children, one is 15 years old and named Dayra, and Hasam is eight years old, we are from Durango, Mexico. I’m a single mother. When we are not doing artistic desserts, my children go to school and I take English classes and work on my business. I became unemployed in 2009, and in 2010 I had the idea of starting my own business to cover household expenses and share the art of my greatest passions.


SFBG: Can you tell us a little about gelatin art?

RR: Arte floral en gelatina has become a centerpiece of Mexican culture. Evening parties in Cancun often have intricate gelatin dessert flowers served in glass, personalized gelatin desserts are in demand at corporate events in Mexico, and no birthday is complete without fun gelatin designs on the cake.  


SFBG: Most of your work I’ve seen is of flowers. Do you do any other kinds of designs?

RR: I am fascinated by flowers, but do figures, characters or any design. You can get your favorite hobby, movie, or fantasy adventure in a gelatin dessert.


SFBG: What are you bringing to the Street Food Festival this weekend?

RR: Sweets Collection will participate by offering fanciful jello shots at two bars that will be located on Folsom and 23rd streets. But we also have a booth on that intersection, selling designs that the entire family can enjoy. Last year was my first year, like me, many people were impressed by the art to gelatin and I hope that this year more people came by our Booth , to know and taste the art you can eat.


SFBG: What does it taste like?

RR: This artistic dessert is made with passion. They’re handcrafted and they taste how they look… delicious.


San Francisco Street Food Festival

Sat/20 11 a.m.- 7 p.m., free

Folsom between 22nd and 26th sts. and surrounding area, SF