Meet The People: Bakery Department
We're excited to bring you the unique flavors of A Gourmet Thyme products, the creation of a couple of local food professionals with 36 years of experience. For 19 years, Donna Cavannaugh has been a local catering expert while Bonnie Alton as spent 17 years building Great Harvest Bread Company in St. Paul. A Gourmet Thyme has become a creative outlet for them to explore unique creations like their Cayenne Shortbread and Spicy Walnuts, both of which you’ll find at your neighborhood Kowalski’s.
A Gourmet Thyme's 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. The varieties we offer are Pistachio and the savory Cayenne.
Martha Glass is a St. 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 10 handcrafted flavors.
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. (When we caught up with her recently, she had just returned days earlier from a trip to Sicily where she performed what she called "lots of research!") Years of tasty experimentation (including the aforementioned "research") combined with family inspiration resulted in Mary Pat's creation of a recipe for a refined yet classic Italian dessert.
When she approached Kowalski's Markets nearly two years ago with her handmade tiramisu*, Mary Pat Ingwell 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 VP of Perishable Food Operations Terri Bennis, suggested 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 Bennis 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, MN 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. She continues to be a great partner; her business style is a good fit for Kowalski's, with its civic approach to business through democratic principles and standards. As subtle tweaking to packaging and labeling are required or adjustments to merchandising and marketing need to be made, Mary Pat and Kowalski's are partners united in a common goal: today Desserts by Alighieri Tiramisu is available in every market but Parkview, with hopes to bring it to that neighborhood in the near future.
*In Italian, tiramisu means "carry me up" or "pick me up." It is a traditional Italian dessert made by layering a light, airy cake and smooth, creamy cheese with coffee, liqueur and chocolate nuances. Find Desserts by Alighieri Tiramisu in both individual and family-sized containers in the Bakery Department in the Cake Case. Selection and availability vary by market.
French Meadow Bakery in Minneapolis is currently the longest-running certified organic bakery in the United States. No artificial ingredients or preservatives are ever used in their products. It's a practice and a promise that founder Lynn Gordon has been committed to since she opened her doors back in 1985.
Lynn's early vision of a bakery filled with delicious, innovative and healthy baked goods has blossomed into an extensive and award-winning line of breads, cakes, cookies and desserts all made with All Natural ingredients.
French Meadow Bakery also proudly boasts that their founding commitment to sustainability and education continues today. The operation educates consumers on the lifelong benefits of organic foods and the importance of supporting local farmers.
Groveland Confections in Minnetonka, MN is a locally owned and operated business specializing in the art of candy making. Their delectable handmade chocolate novelties include everything from Dark Chocolate Coffee and Pecan Toffee Barks to their famous Sea Salt Caramel Bars. Look for these sweet treats in your local Kowalski's:
- Sea Salt Caramel Bars
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Bars
- Fresh Moo Pies
- Gooey Pretzels
- Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
- Salty Dogs (similar to a Salted Nut Roll)
- Coconut Haystacks
- Marshmallow Smackers
- Roasted Pecan Toffee
- Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark with Sea Salt
- White Chocolate Almond Cranberry Bark
- Rich Caramel Sauce with Jack Daniel's