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Sunday, December 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 31.0° F  Light Snow Fog/Mist
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Middleton's Bloom Bake Shop embraces farm-to-table
Makin' whoopies
on

Credit:Linda Falkenstein

The windows at Middleton's new Bloom Bake Shop, 1834 Parmenter St., are steamed over -like a greenhouse! - from all the baking going on early this cold Thursday morning. A chocolate-smudged Annemarie Spitznagle finishes adding some ingredients to a batter and emerges from behind the counter to talk.

The bakery opened without fanfare on Feb. 5, and the response has been "unbelievable," says Spitznagle. "We're a small-batch bakeshop, with everything baked fresh daily." So far, Bloom is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; Tuesdays and Wednesdays are for concentrating on the catering arm of the business.

A military brat who grew up "everywhere," Spitznagle takes the adage that she named the shop after, "Bloom where you're planted," seriously. Middleton has been very welcoming, she enthuses: "Neat people have been coming in and telling us about town history." She's also learned about the building the bakeshop occupies in Middleton's downtown, once the hardware store, although "not everyone agrees about that. I love all the stories."

The sunlit space, with rehabbed cabinets painted white and walls painted powder blue and brown with zero-VOC paints, exemplifies Spitznagle's emphasis on sustainability in all aspects of the business. That extends to the baked goods, of course. "We look to the backyard first," she says, describing herself as obsessed with both the farm-to-table movement and with sweets.

Cupcakes are front and center. Sandwich cookies are a special on Thursdays, whoopie pies on Fridays. And brownies, bars and cookies are on the menu, too. A chocolate cake infused with New Glarus Brewing Company's Raspberry Tart Framboise Ale and Slack's raspberry preserves, of Lodi, is representative of the kind of sourcing the bakery strives for. Less spectacularly, though no less importantly, eggs, butter and milk from local farms go into the rest of the goods - with a significant exception.

Spitznagle also wants to treat the underserved market of vegan and gluten-free nibblers with at least one fresh option for them a day. With 48 hours' notice, she'll bake up a special order. More bona fides: She's currently catering a vegan wedding.

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