The holidays bring celebration, family, friends, and sweets! Perhaps you are hosting a brunch, or giving a gift. Want to wow the crowd with a unique and fabulous dessert? Need a vegan or gluten-free option? Or maybe just want to indulge yourself with a decadent, high-quality treat. These five sweet spots are independently run businesses in Wake County that offer beautiful presentations combined with sophisticated flavors and customized options. Get ready to be tempted!
Slice Pie Company
Kristen Mullins, also known as The Pie Lady, is very proud of the business she built with her father, Mike. “Each pie that we make originates from a family tradition,” said Mullins. “Each bite tells a story into our family history and truly makes you feel like you’re eating a pie straight from your grandmother’s kitchen.” Their pies have won the NC State Fair blue ribbon and have been voted as best pies by MSN, USA Today, and The Daily Meal!
Slice Pie Company offers an assortment of whole pies, half pies, individual slices, and mini sampler packs with choices like dark chocolate truffle, pumpkin, pecan, coconut cream, key lime, apple, sweet potato, sunshine lemon, and double chocolate chess. These can all be customized for the holidays or your special occasion. Visit their Facebook page to view their many options, and remember to order as soon as possible for the holiday season!
Ella’s Popcorn was born when Catering Works owner Jill Santa Lucia and her then-7-year-old daughter, Ella, created Zebra Pop, still their most popular flavor, for her birthday party favors. Since then, they have expanded to 28 savory and sweet popcorn flavors. This season’s holiday trio features Gingerbread (classic gingerbread cookie flavor with warm holiday spices), Peppermint Cookie-O (peppermint chocolate sandwich cookies with candy cane quins), and Hot Cocoa (toasted marshmallow goodness with Belgian chocolate drizzle and mini marshmallows). Their holiday must-haves are available on the Home Shopping Network and through their website.
This is not your mother’s popcorn! Ella’s Popcorn is popped fresh daily using non-GMO corn, and each layer of ingredients is folded in by hand in custom small batches with gourmet ingredients like Pâte à Glacer Ivoire from renowned French chocolate maker Cacao Barry; hibiscus extract imported from Spain with hints of citrus peel, elderberry, and rose hips; and candied violets, which are natural sugar crystallized violet fragments from the Toulouse suburb of Bonnefoy, France.
Popcorn varieties are available in 4- and 8-cup bags, as well as half-gallon, 1-gallon, and 2-gallon tins.
Plant Cakes Bake Shop
Vegan wonders await at this animal product-free, all-vegan organic bakery — the first in the region. Owners Jess Reilly and Mark Deskus opened Plant Cakes in downtown Wake Forest with the goal of providing healthier delicious treats to everyone, including those choosing a plant-only diet and those with dietary sensitivities, allergies, or other intolerances. Plant Cakes offers an indoor dessert bar and outdoor covered patio seating featuring dairy-free, egg-free, 100% plant-based offerings using only the highest quality organic and non-GMO ingredients, free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, sugar alcohols, and preservatives.
Having a holiday brunch? Special for the season are eggnog cake, fresh-baked apple cider doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, cakes, monster chocolate chunk cookies, a variety of cupcakes, and flavorful muffins, such as lemon raspberry, orange strawberry, and savory broccoli cheddar, as well as dairy-free cheesecakes. The bake shop also offers special event, wedding, and dessert catering services.
While visiting, try an organic beverage, like coffee or kombucha, with your treat. The daily in-store menu is posted on the website, and preordering is also available.
Leane Boksleitner and her husband, Rowland, began their family business in Wake Forest by recreating her grandmother’s treasured recipes. Now, the full staff, plus her children, contribute to the expansion of the business, which includes a mobile bakery she calls “Belle” and a gallery of wedding cakes and dessert bars to choose from.
The family’s sweet creations can be specially decorated for your specific occasion, and you can preorder holiday-themed desserts. Holiday bestsellers include chocolate chess pie, apple pie, and pecan pie. Assorted regular and iced cookies are also available, with the pumpkin cookie ranking most popular for Thanksgiving and the gingerbread cookie for Christmas.
Sweet Traditions is also unveiling a new creation. “New this summer was cake-infused ice cream, which turned out to be a hit,” said Boksleitner. “It’s more like a custard ice cream filled with our cake crumbles, toppings, and fresh fruit. We will be doing an apple cider and a pumpkin pie flavor for Thanksgiving, and a gingerbread, chocolate peppermint, and white chocolate cranberry for Christmas.”
Daily case offerings can include candy and caramel apples, cake by the slice, jumbo cookies, pound cake loaves, pies, cakes, whoopie cookies, stuffed jumbo Oreos, and Rice Krispies treats. Gluten-free cookies, cupcakes, and cookie dough are also available. Craving a warm, just-out-of-the-oven cookie? Order online and pick up 45 minutes later!
Videri Chocolate Factory
Holidays and chocolate go hand-in-hand. Videri Chocolate Factory makes gorgeous nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and egg-free products with organic and fair trade ingredients. They don’t use fillers, such as soy lecithin, xanthan gum, emulsifiers, or artificial flavorings; only the finest cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and organic cane sugar make it into their chocolates.
“We source our soft-serve ice cream mixes from our very own Howling Cow Creamery in downtown Raleigh,” said owner Sam Ratto. “Specialty chocolate bars and bundles, soft-serve ice cream, bonbons, hot chocolate, baking chocolate, cocoa tea — we scrupulously source every ingredient to ensure a high-quality, responsible chocolate. Artisan chocolate. Gift sets, subscriptions, favors, and custom bar wrappers are also offered.”
For the holiday season, Videri is offering all things peppermint: peppermint bars, peppermint marshmallows, peppermint milkshakes, and hot chocolate lollipops with peppermint. Their best seller is the Evergreen gift box, which includes an eight-piece bonbon box, hot chocolate mix, vanilla marshmallows, seasonal candy bar, peppermint bar, and 55% dark milk chocolate bar.
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