Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Connecticut Tuesday: Frostings of Ridgefield

They say you should never assume anything.

But every now and then an assumption leads to something fun.

Case in point ...

I attended a wedding cake contest a few weeks ago. While there, I ran across  exceptionally delicious offerings from Frostings - a cupcake company based in Ridgefield, CT.

It never occurred to me to ask whether the gorgeous young women behind the table were the owners as well as the bakers.

Fast forward to the receipt of an email a few days later.

An email from Niro Feliciano - the company CEO. Thanking me for the photos I'd posted on FB, and for my interest.

A psychotherapist by profession, I discovered as I read on.

I was intrigued.

I will confess I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what Niro could possibly be short for in Italian - as I determined that he had to be of Italian origin with a name like that.

Skip to several emails and several weeks later and I am invited to a Fall Flavour testing.

I arrive - and not only is he not Italian, he's not even a he.

It's a woman - and she's originally from ... Sri Lanka!

With a science background and 22 years experience in baking.

Needless to say, we had a good laugh.

As things settled down, we talked about the science aspect for a bit. 

"It really is a science," Niro explained as she showed me around the test kitchen they are using until her cupcakery opens in Ridgefield.

"Vary a recipe by one quarter cup of a different type of flour and you get a different cupcake. It took me a year to finalize the base recipes and the signature piping we use."

The we directed my attention to Beth Hardy - a graduate of the Culinary Institue of America - who is responsible for the day to day baking.

"We have several standard flavours, but we also have our seasonal ones," Beth (with the company since she responded to an ad on Craig's List in May) explains. "Today we're working on apple cinammon and looking for cool ways to infuse pumpkin and spice into our products."

Niro explained to me that she spent the last year in Washington DC, and the five years before that in New York City.

"It was really obvious to me that there was a developing niche for cupcakes, and when I came back to Ridgefield I really wanted to create a haven for cupcake obsessees. A place where people can come in and have a cupcake or a lovebite, along with a cup of excellent coffee. A place where they can also drop in to purchase something tasty on their way home. It's going to be a great little place."

I was intrigued by the conecpt of the lovebite - and Niro explained that a friend who works for a luxury brand in NYC came up with the idea of calling the bite-size cakes that. "She was really instrumental in helping with branding, packaging and business card design, as well as the website. It was wonderful to be able to get her help on all of this."

I asked how far the cupcakes have travelled to date, and the answer was ... Toronto.

Personal delivery though.

"We use a lot less sugar in our cupcakes than other companies do, " Beth explained. "And that also makes for softer frosting. We've looked into freezing our products so that we can ship them out, but we want them to taste the way they did when they were baked. So for the moment we're sticking to the neighbouring states where the cupcakes can travel safely in special boxes, and be eaten  the same day they were baked."

"It's been really fun learning how people learn about us," Niro told me. "And we've had a lot of business from people who have tasted our cupcakes at an event they've attended. We're hoping to reach a lot more people once the cupcakery opens. Hopefully that will happen before Halloween."

Of course I couldn't resist asking about the connection between therapy and baking - and both ladies smiled.

"It's instant gratification," Beth said. "I love being in the kitchen. Once you have your recipes set, it's a matter of getting in there and making it happen. It doesn't take anything from you, but it gives you a lot. That sense that you're creating something beautiful that is going to bring joy to others. It's a wonderful feeling."

Sounds likes a whole new definition of comfort food to me!

Thank you for a wonderful two hours, ladies. Very much looking forward to covering the grand opening for the blog.

You can learn more about Frostings on their website and their Facebook page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Connecticut brides ... make sure you keep an eye out for the first of the giveaways on Friday, October 8th, 2010 (date has been edited to reflect the fact that I have to put the blog on hiatus for a few days, following an encounter with a concrete patio).

Frostings is hosting a rather delectable surprise for you.

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