More on Pizzelle’s in their own words.
-So what exactly is edible art? What experience does combining the two bring. You eat with your eyes first, so we’ve always striven to make all of our chocolates as beautiful as possible. We’ve carried the same aesthetic to our expanded dessert and cake menu. We hear all the time that our chocolates are “too pretty too eat,” which we think is a high compliment. We also have open kitchens, so customers can see our prep and processes and ask questions. The open kitchens are an important part of the experience, and it made sense to us because we’re housed in an art community. You can see the other artists at their work throughout Lowe Mill, so it’s important that you can see our artists at work too.
-What has been your biggest challenge or success so far? Right now our biggest challenge and success are one and the same: our new expansion. We had the opportunity to expand into the space next door to us at Lowe Mill and finished building out our new pastry kitchen and expanded cafe this past March. We went from seating 9 people to being able to seat 55 people, and not only did we add a dessert menu, but we also began creating custom cakes for birthdays, weddings, and other occasions. It’s been pretty much like opening a brand new business while maintaining our existing business. So it’s a great success that we’ve been able to expand, and a challenge to incorporate the expansion into our vision and not allow the chocolate side to suffer.
–Why is it important to do small batch products? And where does your fair trade ingredients come from? We use single-origin, fair trade chocolate from El Rey in Venezuela. We’ve used El Rey chocolate since the beginning, and we love its earthy flavor. Small batches help us to control the quality and shelf life of our products. It also allows us to tweak recipes and designs more easily without losing product. And we’re always innovating! We have seasonal flavors that change about every 3 months or so, and sometimes we just need to rework a recipe. Small batches mean that we can create and test a new recipe quickly, and have the new chocolate or dessert ready for sale in a few days.
-What does a typical day look like for you? There is no typical day – that’s one of the things that makes our jobs fun! We all get to the shop a few hours before we open to start some food prep and get everything ready to be open. We continue with prep and cooking throughout the day, and take care of customers. Our production schedule is basically the same each week, but because we have retail hours, we never quite know what our day holds.
-Tell me a bit more about Lowe Mill. How has that environment been for your business? We love being at Lowe Mill. It’s the largest privately-owned arts center in the country, and it really is a community. We’re surrounded by artists who work in all kinds of mediums, so there is inspiration around every corner. We’re able to get some of our herbs, peppers, and fruit from the Flying Monkey Community Garden that’s right out our back door. We even get the bourbon whiskey that we use in one of our truffles from the Irons One distillery at Lowe Mill.
-What is your favorite local vendor? Don’t make us pick favorites! We of course love The Kaffeeklatsch, the local roaster who we get all of our coffee from. We’re also involved in the Food Bank of North Alabama’s Farm Food Collaborative, where we’re able to get directly connected with local farmers to get fruit and product that’s fresh, local, and in season.
Thanks for reading! This has been a Shop Small Bama Feature.