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 Officer 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 the aspects of manufacturing, distribution and merchandising, things shed' had no prior experience with. From licensing and packaging to labeling and 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 Desserts by Alighieri Tiramisu in both individual and family-sized containers in the Bakery Department Cake Case at your nearest Kowalski's location. Selection and availability vary by market.