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November 2, 2017
West Chester Bakeries Prepare Pumpkin Treats
If there’s one element of autumn that people associate the most with the season, it’s pumpkin. But we’re setting aside those familiar pumpkin lattes for more local pumpkin treats. We tracked down some of the best pumpkin desserts you will find this season from some of West Chester’s delicious bakeries.
This mouth-watering pumpkin roll was produced by none other than Carlino’s, one of West Chester’s most familiar restaurants. Established in West Chester 10 years ago, it holds precedence in the borough as a market for all of your needs, whether you’re shopping for desserts, produce, or coffee. Richard Molinaro, marketing manager for Carlino’s at both West Chester and Ardmore locations, talked about why he loves their pumpkin rolls.
“It’s one of the most popular fall items we sell in October and November,” he said. “Even if you’re not a big pumpkin fan, you’ll be able to enjoy it immensely. The cream cheese icing is so smooth and creamy, and the chopped cookie crisp on the sides of the roll adds a crunch. And it’s such a moist cake, it’s really the perfect dessert. The roll has been a hit here for a long time.”
But the roll isn’t the only part of Carlino’s that’s satisfying. Carlino’s provides a welcoming environment for everyone, staff and customers alike.
“We cultivate a great sense of community with our employees and customers, and that’s present in both locations,” Richard stated. “We get to know people and interact with everyone.”
You may have seen this entirely gluten-free bakery at the West Chester Growers Market on a few Saturdays. Everything, including their pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins with dark chocolate chips, pumpkin walnut cheesecake, and their pumpkin tart with caramel drizzle, is homemade in small batches and is gluten-free. Liz Miles, Sweet Ladybug’s owner, discussed why the bakery incorporates local, gluten-free ingredients in every product they bake.
“We want to be inclusive,” Liz said. “We want people that can’t have gluten to realize that they have options — and I personally love seeing their faces light up when they realize they can eat everything we have. And, we want people that can eat gluten to realize they don’t need gluten for desserts to taste good.”
Sweet Ladybug has only been open for a year and is already making its mark in the borough. I asked Liz about their unique name.
“Ladybugs were always a family symbol,” she said. “A ladybug landed on my daughter, Abby, when she was born, so it made sense to name our family business after that. And Abby designed our ladybug logo and she’s only 13!”
Liz aspires to expand their reach and open retail locations in areas throughout the state.
“We emphasize community outreach, family, and food for everyone,” Liz said. “We are like the Central Perk of the gluten-free world.”
Nestled at the end of the Cambridge Square shopping center on East Gay Street is a warm, and homey, dessert café. Arianna’s Gourmet Café offers a large variety of pumpkin desserts including their pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars with cream cheese and spice cake, pumpkin cheesecake (which is cinnamon-whipped with pecan maple crust and maple-toasted pumpkin seeds), and a tasty pumpkin pecan puff pastry filled with hot and melted brie cheese. Brenda Moser, one of the owners of Arianna’s, told me which dessert out of all of these is considered a house favorite.
“Our homemade pumpkin pie, for sure,” Brenda said without hesitation. “Because it’s heavy on the spice, and that makes it unique. We make our pie the way my dad loved it.”
Brenda had first baked with her grandma in her old restaurant as a child and she quickly found her passion for the craft. Years later, Brenda and her business partner, Beth Henderson, bought Arianna’s from its previous owners. But that’s not why they have a large, loyal group of regulars.
“People love us because we are consistent and we have a friendly atmosphere,” Beth explained. “And we emphasize personal service. We love spending time with our customers.”
Not to mention, everyone appreciates the fresh, homemade food they serve. Maybe that’s why Arianna’s continues to thrive in West Chester.
“Our customers also enjoy the homey feeling throughout our café,” Brenda said. “We’ve been told it’s like eating in their grandma’s dining room again, with all of the linens we have.”
Still haven’t had your fill of pumpkin treats? Yori’s is another one of your classic eateries featuring delicious pumpkin pies! Stop in sometime and try them out! We love a good slice of the classic Thanksgiving staple.
(photos from Yori’s Church Street Bakery)