MIDDLETOWN—Bakeries and candy stores in Middletown and Wallkill have plenty of love to give on Valentine’s Day.
Local bakeries Carmine’s and DeFillippi’s have specialty cakes and cookies popular for the holiday. Gertrude Hawke Candy Store, Candy Land, and the Sugar Shack bring sweetness for a child’s Valentine surprise. Something Sweet’s sumptuous desserts and dinners can be enjoyed in intimate surroundings for a cozy Valentine for two.
Chocolate and More
As Feb. 14 appears on the horizon, bakeries and candy stores that cater to local tastes may agree with Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz: “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Chocolate baked goods, especially cakes and cookies, are a popular choice.
Vincent Fratto, an owner of DeFilippis Italian Pastry Shop in Middletown, says the big seller on Valentine’s are heart-shaped cakes, chocolate-dipped strawberries, miniature pastries, and cookies.
He says both men and women come in for a holiday treat on the day. “You get ladies who come in and get heart-shaped cake for their husbands or vice-versa.” Sfogliatelles, ricotta-filled Italian pastries, are Fratto’s favorite any time of the year.
What could be more popular than the dessert classics—cakes with whipped cream—for the big day, according to Carmine’s present manager and youngest son of the owner, Carmine Arrotta.
Arrotta says cakes, heart-shaped and round, sell well. Cookies, in all shapes and sizes are popular. His secret is to “keep it simple” with custard or whipped cream filling or frostings.
The Gertrude Hawk Candy Store specializes in Smidgens which are very popular, according to store manager Krista Watson. Chocolate-dipped strawberry smidgens are their biggest hit. “We come in a five o’clock in the morning on Valentine’s Day and the day prior just to dip strawberries.”
Watson says they usually go through six to seven hundred pounds of strawberries for the holiday. Sweets come in other flavors, but chocolate is the big seller.
Candy Land cashier Ashley Martinez at Candy Land in the Galleria Mall says their sweet eats are “mostly for little kids to exchange valentines.” The larger boxes of chocolates are for adults. For serious chocolate aficionados, the store packs baskets. Candy bouquets made of chupa chups, a creamy lollipop from Puerto Rico of mango, vanilla, or chocolate make for a sweet gift.
The Sugar Shack is a sweet destination for families. Owner Lisa Bedosky says “because we are more kid-oriented, we are trying to encourage our customers to bring their little sweeties in, lunch or dinner, ice cream, of course, candy.” Bedosky says kids like “anything sticky, anything sweet. We have a good selection of taffy.”
The store on the soon-to-be-completed King Street Walkway offers “pies, cake pops, candy, candy & more candy,” according to its website. “For your little Sweeties bring them by for lunch or a nice dinner. If you happen to be out at a fancier restaurant, end your date with some sweet ice cream,” she posted on Facebook.
Landing on a Sunday makes it special for Something Sweet’s customers because they will open with a brunch in the morning, close for a couple of hours, and offer a sumptuous three-course prix fixe dinner. Owner Anna Madden says the dinner “is a lot fancier than what we typically do.” The menu starts with an Amusse-Bouche, “a fantastical teaser to delight the appetite,” according to the Valentine menu.
“We have so many different things but chocolate is definitely our most popular dessert–our chocolate truffle, the chocolate truffle tart, the chocolate custard.”
Watson tries to manage the craziness that sets in on the big day. “It’s a madhouse—in a good way, though. It’s very, very busy. We get a lot of dads and husbands that are a little bit lost so we try to guide them the best we can.”
Arrotta says Valentine’s Day is one of his favorite days. “It’s Christmas for two.”
The local candy shops and bakeries will have lots of sweet love to give to that special Valentine.
To contact this reporter, please email yvonne.marcotte.com.