Meet The People: Bakery Department

A Gourmet Thyme Too

Pistachio Shortbread by A Gourmet Thyme Too

We're excited to bring you the unique flavors of A Gourmet Thyme products, the creation of a couple of local food professionals with nearly 50 years of combined experience. Donna Cavannaugh has enjoyed years of culinary adventures and successes with her catering company. Bonnie Alton is a baker with a storefront shop in Saint Paul. Together they are a strong force for new ideas and artisan baking at its best.

A Gourmet Thymes Too Shortbreads are a great base for your favorite cheese and a simple way to entertain guests. The small size and unique flavors makes this product perfect to use for appetizers or desserts.

Find them in the Bakery Department.

Bistro Meringues

Martha Glass, owner of Bistro Meringues

Martha Glass is a Saint Paul resident who makes thousands of these melt-in-your-mouth treats in a local kitchen. Starting with a recipe that features locally raised, organic eggs, sugar and no additives or preservatives, she carefully pipes each cookie by hand. If you've never had a fresh made-from-scratch meringue, you owe it to yourself to try one of Martha's many handcrafted flavors.

Find them in the Bakery Department.

Brody's 579

Brody's 579 information booth

Brody's 579 gluten-free muffins and mixes are made from simple, clean ingredients that are deliciously good tasting. Kathy Schwartz, a Registered Dietitian and local food entrepreneur, created Brody's 579 to help her nephew Brody, who has celiac, feel included in family meals. With popular flavors like Banana Chip, Blueberry, Chocolate, Apple Cinnamon, Pumpkin and the newest flavor, Orange Blossom Honey, you are sure to find a favorite or two. Share them with your family – they are so good we bet no one will be able to tell they are gluten free!

Brody's 579 has grown steadily over the past five years, reaching more families and bringing people together around the table. "Eating is a social event, and we want everyone to be included," says Kathy. "We are proud that we help people feel a part of the meal and will continue to help families come together."

Find Brody's Muffins in the Bakery Department and Brody's Baking Mixes in the Grocery Department.

Ciao Bella Restaurant

Fresh baked loaf of sliced ciabatta bread served with rosemary sprigs and herbed olive oil for dipping

Ciao Bella is a restaurant in Bloomington serving simple, fresh Italian cuisine made from local ingredients. Their handcrafted meals are made with fresh in-season produce, the highest grade all-natural meats, and the freshest seafood flown in daily straight from its source. A Minneapolis metro favorite, Ciao Bella was opened in 1997 by Minneapolis restaurateur Rick Webb, whose pursuits have set the standard in Twin Cities dining for over 40 years.

Now you can bring a little taste of Ciao Bella home when you stop in at your neighborhood Kowalski's. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Ciao Bella's own Judy Schmidt bakes up fresh, handmade ciabatta bread for our Artisan Bread Table. Pick up a loaf and warm it up in a preheated 500° oven for 3-5 minutes before serving.

Find Ciao Bella Bread it in the Bakery Department.

Day Brightener Cookies

Day Brightener decorated sugar cookies with an Easter theme: bunnies, eggs, and spring chicks

She may have founded Day Brightener Bakery in April of 2010, but the passion for baking started for Mary Shepherd when she was a child growing up in a family of eight. As anyone with a large family can tell you, a family of that size only works when chores are divided. That said, Mary harbored a little secret: her "chore" was typically the baking, and she loved it.

"I couldn't have been luckier!" she says. "Baking and decorating, of course, take some patience, but my parents raised me to believe that if anything was worth doing, it was worth doing well, and I keep this in mind with every item I bake."

One Easter, Mary purchased a large egg-shaped cookie cutter that had a recipe attached. After she modified the recipe slightly and set to work, decorating eggs took on a whole new meaning for her family that year! Since then, Mary has created literally thousands of custom, artisan cookies in all shapes and sizes, making sure each one is a gift unto itself.

We are proud to offer Mary's beautiful Day Brightener Sugar Cookies in our markets. Find a variety of her seasonal cookie designs in our Bakery Department.

Desserts by Alighieri

Desserts by Alighieri Tiramisu

An amateur baker her entire life, Mary Pat Ingwell happily married into a Sicilian family with a history of baking and a love of food. Years of tasty experimentation combined with family inspiration resulted in Mary Pat's creation of a recipe for the refined yet classic Italian dessert, tiramisu. This traditional Italian mélange is made by layering a light, airy sponge cake and smooth, creamy cheese with coffee, liqueur and chocolate nuances.

When she approached Kowalski's Markets in 2011 with her handmade tiramisu, Mary Pat had a winning recipe and a great business background. Where she was lacking was in her knowledge of the food business, especially the retail grocery business. Her neighbor, an acquaintance of Mary Anne and Jim Kowalski and a friend of Kowalski's Chief Merchandising Office Terri Bennis, suggested that Kowalski's was just the place – not just for Mary Pat to sell her product, but to get the support and mentoring she needed to get her delicious product on the shelves.

Kowalski's, especially Terri and Bakery Director Russ Tourville, saw promise in Mary Pat that went beyond what they tasted. Mary had a background in corporate communications and a willingness not just to learn but to do some seriously hard work. With guidance and advice from Terri and Russ, Mary Pat found a commercial production kitchen in Woodbury, Minnesota, and became educated about aspects of manufacture, distribution and merchandising she had no prior experience with. From licensing, packaging and labeling to retail marketing, she immersed herself in the ins and outs of the food business. Desserts by Alighieri (named for Mary Pat's grandmother-in-law) was born, and in 2011 Mary Pat's delectable Italian-inspired dessert was introduced in the Kowalski's Woodbury Market.

"I've had so much fun," Mary Pat says of the experience. But make no mistake, running any small business is hard work. Mary Pat logs an incredible amount of time running Desserts by Alighieri. She currently prepares, packages, labels and delivers every single dessert by hand to each of our 11 markets. She continues to be a great partner and we are proud to be able to feature her delicious tiramisu in our stores.

Find Dessert by Alighieri Tiramisu in both individual and family-sized containers in the Bakery Department Cake Case. Selection and availability vary by market.

Kathie's Bakery

Kathie Armstrong of Kathie's Bakery

Kathie Armstrong met Bakery and Private Label Director Russ Tourville in 2015. "That meeting changed my life," says Kathie, who produces home baking mixes under the Kowalski's label from her own recipes and also provides the commercial mixes used to make biscuits, French and cardamom breads, and other fresh baked goods in every store. On any given day, customers may run into her doing an in-store demo or even baking side-by-side with a store bakery team.

"I am truly honored to be part of such a high-integrity organization," Kathie says. "They make me want to do better in everything I do. I have become a part of the team, and it is so very special and a blessing in my life. Kowalski's is much more than a store that I sell to. They are a family that believes in helping others, and I believe that as well."

You'll only find Kathie's Bakery products under the Kowalski's brand name in the Bakery Department.

Minneapple Pie

Minneapple Pie

In 1966 Andy Atsidakos and his wife, Libby, immigrated from a small village in Greece to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in pursuit of the American Dream. Working as a baker in his uncle's small restaurant, Andy perfected a delicious and award-winning apple pie recipe. 43 years later, Libby and their two grown children, George and Joanne, added a new twist to his famed original recipe. Libby's relentless pursuit of perfection produced an amazingly delicious deep-fried apple pie with a crust that was light and flaky. The Original Minneapple Pie was born.

In 2009, the family began taking the pies to festivals, stadiums and fairs. They soon received the coveted invitation to one of the great food venues in the country, the Minnesota State Fair, and have since won many awards, including #1 Food at the Minnesota State Fair multiple times. They have even begun selling their pies at other fairs across the country.

Minneapple Pies are made with only the finest quality ingredients. Each is individually handmade with a crispy, flaky crust and fresh apples, then topped with cinnamon and sugar.

Find them at select Kowalski's Markets in the Bakery Department.