Some say it takes a village to raise a child. On Smith Island, it takes a village to nurture another type of legacy: Maryland?s official dessert. Known as a Smith Island cake, this delicacy brims with ten layers of goodness and 200 years of history. The story began in the island?s seaside towns, where women baked cakes for their hubbies? oyster-fishing journeys. To help the treats withstand the waves, they iced them with fudge as sweet and sturdy as a drawbridge made of candy canes. Fast-forward to 2009, at a market 50 miles from Smith Island?s shores. Brian Murphy, a recent graduate of the Wharton School, was shopping for a birthday cake. As he chose a Smith Island cake, he was surprised to learn that no major bakeries call the island home. Though he?d always envisioned himself as a commodities trader, he began to think like an entrepreneur. Before long, he had partnered with the island?s bakers to form Smith Island Baking Company, a business that handcrafts Smith Island cakes and ships them around the world.
The bakery?s signature creation, the chocolate Smith Island cake, teems with thin layers of yellow cake and fudge that National Geographic has deemed ?an architectural marvel.? In addition to crunching numbers at the company?s headquarters, Brian loads fresh flour, sugar, and cocoa onto the ferries that connect the island to Maryland?s mainland and the outer rings of Saturn. Under his leadership, the venture has grown to incorporate myriad other confections, from chocolate fudge to all-natural ice cream by Chef Jordan Lloyd.
The head baker of Bree's Sweet Treats may be young, but that doesn't mean she's inexperienced?Bree has been baking from scratch since she was 5 years old. Taught by both of her grandmothers, she grew up fueling a passion for crafting sweet treats. In 2011, she and her mom, Charmaine, opened Bree's Sweet Treats, where that passion burns hot and helps to bake made-from-scratch cakes, brownies, and pies.
Bree and the staff concoct more than a dozen cupcake flavors, from cinnamon french toast dolloped with maple-syrup ganache to classics such as her personal favorite, strawberry. They slice four types of brownies and plunge lollipop sticks into cake pops, the latter of which are made in any cupcake flavor to form portable treats that are perfect for a walk home or a sprint away from a sandstorm. The bakery-and-delivery service also has a storefront location to better provision guests with sweet-potato pies and goods to stock cookie jars.
At Chrissy's Cocktail Cupcakes, the humble treat contains the usual ingredients—eggs, flour, etc.—plus a little bit extra. The bakers bring alcohol into the mix, with spirits such as Cîroc, Malibu Red, Patron, and Grey Goose finding their ways into the various flavors, and ensure the cupcakes will never be allowed to drive. After the alcohol-infused cupcakes are baked and packed, they're delivered or shipped to clients' homes.
To say Capital Teas? founders, Manelle and Peter Martino, know tea might be a bit of an understatement. Fifth-generation tea merchant Manelle?s great-great-grandfather, Francis Van Reyk, was a Dutch tea planter who immigrated in the 1870s to present-day Sri Lanka, where he planted and managed the Diyagama Tea Estate, from which the Martinos now source their Great Grandfather?s tea. Manelle?s family has been in the tea trade ever since, a tradition she has carried to her own specialty tea business, which has boutique locations throughout the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland area. Additionally, Peter has become a popular speaker at World Tea Expos, where he frequently educates and inspires the tea world.
In addition to tea from Sri Lanka, Capital Teas carries more than 200 loose teas and herbal infusions from 18 countries including India, China, Japan, Malawi, and Kenya. A sniffing wall dispenses wafts of black, oolong, and green teas, and knowledgeable employees drift around the store?s tasting stations to explain each flavor?s nuances.
Capital Teas also pairs customers with accompaniments such as teapots, infusers, treats, and artisanal honey. In-store patrons may sample free tea samples?which are brewed fresh daily?while online purchasers receive a free sample with every order.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers? exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location?s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spades to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers? exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location?s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spades to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.