Although it's usually relegated to an after-meal treat, dessert took center stage recently for the Love at First Bite Friendly Dessert Contest at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis.

Artist-in-residence Robert Karimi, who operates as character Mero Cocinero, hosted the free event.

"Today is about sweetness," said Karimi, who focuses on food as a cultural medium in part because of his father's struggle with diabetes.

The potluck was filled with desserts that represented various cultures, including vegan banana pudding, rice balls with peanut sauce, fruta asado, pavlova and Karimi's avocado chocolate mousse.

Such a caloric buffet could be potential trouble in a world filled with food-related health issues, so the goal of the night was moderation -- judging dishes on a single mindful bite.

But even that was open to interpretation. "Everyone's bite is different," Karimi said.

In the end, Yana Frank's slightly tart German red currant cake won the contest, although every dessert was savored. After all, as Karimi said, "Who can say no to sweetness?"

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177