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(Published: 2010-02-20)

I’m curious. What did you give YOUR Valentine this year? Red roses, perhaps? A box of chocolates? Or maybe a bottle of champagne? I find myself faced with a self-imposed dilemma when it comes to gift giving. When you’re known as the Trendmaster, standard offerings just won’t do. Personal pride demands that I surprise and delight my recipients, and my brand integrity dictates that my gifts be deemed trend-worthy.

Holey designer doughnuts--mission accomplished this Valentine’s Day! My husband was thrilled to receive a box of scrumptious designer doughnuts from The Mandarin Gourmet Donut Shoppe in Miami. ( While on vacation there, I placed an order 24 hours in advance. They were delivered fresh, right to our door, the following day. Besides being decadent and delicious, they were a perfect fusion of several contradictory trends.

In case you haven’t heard, gourmet doughnuts are to 2010 what cupcakes were for 2009. Cupcakes have been riding high on the trend curve for some time now, thanks to the Sex in the City girls and their visits to The Magnolia Bakery, a cupcake boutique in Greenwich Village. The listed cupcakes as #3 in the top ten food trends of the last decade. (Sushi was #1 and bacon was #2.)

According to my trend sources, cutesy cupcakes are about to be supplanted by the new darling of the pastry scene, designer doughnuts. Let me be clear; I’m not talking retro retreads. These delectable treats shouldn’t be confused with the greasy state fair doughnuts of days gone by.

Purveyors of designer doughnuts such as Miami’s Mandarin Gourmet Donut Shoppe and Portland’s Voodoo Doughnuts have elevated these humble rings of pastry to heavenly status, proving that “Everything Old is New Again.” New flavor twists include blueberry with mascarpone, lemon chamomile crème custard, dulce de leche drizzle, pomegranate thyme, and bing cherry balsamic. Glazed Donuts in Chicago even garnishes their iced mint mojito doughnut with fresh mint leaves.

What about the guilt, you ask? Michelle Vazquez, owner of the Mandarin Gourmet Donut Shoppe, uses only organic ingredients, trans fat-free oil, and fresh seasonal fruits, her creations appeal as much to the health-conscious as they do to gourmet ‘foodies.’ In my book, that qualifies as a “Healthy Indulgence.”

Today’s young urbanites are embracing these new creations as “Luxurious Commodities.” It’s a way to indulge in a gourmet treat without breaking the bank. Priced between $1.55 and $1.99, you don’t even have to forgo your designer coffee to be able to afford one.

That means that now you can have your cake, and eat it, too.

Mandarin Gourmet Donut Shoppe

Designer Doughnuts

Robyn Waters is president and founder of RW Trend, LLC. She is the author of The Trendmaster’s Guide: Get a Jump on What Your Customer Wants Next, and The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape. Learn more about Robyn at All Rights Reserved.

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