Peaks of frosting crown the cupcakes at Ronnie’s Bakery, which are ornamented with creative designs such as red-seamed baseballs or the faces of pop-culture icons. Larger cakes can be created to accompany handheld desserts.
The devoted bakers at each Cookies by Design location bury their knuckles in soft dough and sweet frosting to craft top-notch treats for all manner of occasions. Whether customers are prepping for a birthday, a time to give thanks, or beekeeper appreciation day, Cookies by Design will cater to their sentiment-slinging needs by customizing a colorful bouquet or another edible display. Individually decorated cookies start at $7.50 each, and birthday baskets start at $15.99. The NCAA survival kit ($39.99+) makes a perfect gift for a spirited college freshman and offers a singular opportunity to literally eat the opposing team for breakfast. Orders should be placed at least 24 hours in advance so that cookie seeds have ample time to soak up milk and sprout into full-grown desserts.
Although Cathryn “Chef C” Matthes began life as an overweight child, she favored healthy cooking early in her culinary career. She turned toward nutritious foods and recipes, and eventually earned recognition from Southern Living magazine, SpaFinder magazine, and the New York Daily News for her healthful and delicious foods. Today, Chef C helms DelisheeeYo, adhering to her health-conscious mission while preparing light lunch fare and frozen yogurt.
DelisheeeYo’s frozen yogurt menu includes one flavor: tart original. Packed with probiotics, this low-fat and lower-sugar yogurt swirls into 3-, 5-, and 7-ounce cups or 10-gallon cowboy hats when no one’s looking. A toppings bar, packed with everything from fresh fruit to housemade chocolate-chipotle-cinnamon syrup, dresses up yogurt to each customer’s liking. The chef and staff hand-select organic apples, strawberries, and blueberries from local and organic sources when available, and avoid high-fructose corn syrup by importing all of their chocolates and caramels.
Though the yogurt is DelisheeeYo’s specialty, Chef C doesn’t stop there. Organic greens, peppers, garbanzo beans, and cheeses fill a vegan salad bar. Whole-wheat flour tortillas wrap themselves around nut butter, banana, and honey, or transform into a Trojan Horse to surround hummus and Greek olives. The chef helps customers wash down meals by concocting refreshing specialty drinks from ingredients such as organic Italian lemon juice and agave nectar.
Ramona Fantini tasted her first spoonful of gelato while vacationing in Florence, Italy, in 2002. She was immediately taken with the cold, smooth dessert, and knew that people back home in America would love it too. So when she returned from her vacation, she left her corporate position and opened Pino Gelato. At her shop, artisans use a precise technique and special equipment to concoct small batches of the Italian dessert, blending fresh fruit, actual espresso, and other wholesome ingredients with milk. The result is a treat that is denser and lower in fat than ice cream, and unlike ice cream, doesn't cause everyone to scream.
In the years since Fantini starting making gelato, her business has expanded to multiple locations throughout the Southeast. At each shop, her baristas scoop gelato and dairy-free sorbetto into cups and cones and brew specialty café drinks to pair with pastries. At lunchtime, patrons can bite into an unconventional snack lauded by the Food Network: handheld cones of pizza crust filled with mozzarella, tomato sauce, and other savory ingredients.
With chocolate creations showcased at the governor's inaugural ball, Island Fudge Shop sends sweet tooths into overdrive with from-scratch fudge, chocolates, and candies available in classic and holiday incarnations. Patrons enjoy a pound of homemade fudge without the work of fishing in Willy Wonka's river, with flavors including pumpkin, vanilla, milk chocolate, and maple walnut. Made with heavy whipping cream and Grade AA butter, the fudge undergoes a distinct open-fire process to form into dream-fulfilled bites.
Health and flavor don’t always go hand-in-hand, but Jitterbug Bakery strikes a perfect balance with its baked goods, made with hormone-free, antibiotic-free local dairy and eggs, as well as its vegan and gluten-free menu items. Staffers serve up coffee roasted and custom-blended locally by PERC, accompanied by signature blueberry-peach muffins and mocha-swirl muffins. Like the White House’s street address, the shop’s soups change daily, and are served aside breads in unique flavors such as oatmeal maple. The comfy lounge area feels more like a living room than a store, outfitted with hardwood floors and twin red couches strewn with pillows. Book clubs convene in the bakery once a month, with each club focusing on a specific genre, such as fiction, nonfiction, mystery, or Mad Libs.