Home sweet Flemington – a destination for holiday dessert lovers

 Indulging in homemade sweets and treats is a holiday tradition that is made even sweeter in Flemington. Whether enjoyed around the dining room table or at one of many local restaurants, cafes and coffee houses, the quality and variety of Flemington’s home-made baked goods makes it a holiday dessert lover’s paradise.

Yum! Gluten Free Mocha Peppermint Chip Muffin from Hardy’s Coffee Bar is on the Menu this month.

The aroma of freshly baked desserts and sweets are everywhere. Platform One features an in-house baker, and many independent local restaurants feature house-made signature desserts. Teaberry’s Tea Room is known for its authentic scones and traditional English tea service. Artisan coffee shops Hardy’s Coffee Bar and Factory Fuel feature mouth-watering homemade muffins and scones, including vegan varieties. Popular spots for holiday treats and more include Grateful Bites, Italian Bakery & Cafe, Market Roost, and the Mixing Bowl.

Grateful Bites offers delicious farm to table food and desserts diners can feel good about for two reasons – the quality of the food and the restaurant’s differently-abled apprentices employed through its nonprofit Ability 2 Work.

“As a full service pastry shop and cafe, everything is made in house from scratch,” said chef Ashlee Hunsbedt, adding the restaurant located at 42  Route 12 uses locally sourced, non-GMO and certified organic ingredients as well as high-quality Parisian chocolate.

Perfect chocolate curls top this pie made with tlc from the finest ingredients at Grateful Bites.

Diners can choose from signature cakes, handmade cookies, breads, ice creams and pastries. Seasonal flavors for signature cakes include hot cocoa, chocolate peppermint, and eggnog.

“House made hot cocoa with our handcrafted vanilla marshmallows will be offered all season long with our specialty cookies,” Hunsbedt said. “We’ll also be offering a “take and bake” box of our customer favorite breakfast pastries for an easy holiday morning breakfast for the whole family, and whole house brioche loaves for the perfect French toast. And as always, gluten free options are available for all of our desserts.”

Since 1981, Norman and Carol Todd’s Market Roost  Restaurant, Catering & Bakery at 65 Main Street have been serving brunch, lunch and delectable

Hand-filled cannolis and speciality coffee make a great shopping break at Market Roost.

baked goods in their warm and inviting storefront restaurant. Perfect croissants, rich holiday pies, and speciality holiday cookies like Russian Tea Cakes fill the shop.  “Our catering business has continued to grow, and we love helping our customers to plan the perfect holiday celebration,” said Carol Todd. Don’t miss the hand-filled cannoli,  and decadent speciality desserts including Hazelnut Swiss Tort.

  The Italian Bakery and Cafe, at 31 Reaville Ave., was opened in 1985 by Jack Mannino, mostly with recipes he brought with him from Italy. The bakery is now run by his daughter, Rose, and her brother, Joe, who endeavor to maintain its authenticity.

“So, of course, for Christmas, we will be making Nonna’s fig cookies, and traditional Cassata Siciliana. And for anyone who remembers, Italian Christmas would not be the same without the struffoli. We also have pies, cheesecakes, and traditional cakes,” said Rose. “And yes, we still bake everything from scratch.”

In addition to its reputation for delectable Italian desserts and the assortment of pastries, danishes and cookies, the Italian Bakery is also well-known for its coffee and its atmosphere.

 “Our cappuccino espresso is like no other,” Rose said. “People that come into our store for coffee, it’s not just about the coffee; it’s also having that feeling of being in Italy. It’s a place where people gather to start their day.”

Mmmm! Homemade Italian butter cookies make the perfect hostess gift.

This article  originally appeared in the Holiday and Winter Guide to Flemington, and is reprinted with permission from the Bucks County Herald.

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