Walking into Mali B. Sweets it is immediately evident that this is not your average bakery. From the elegant cakes to the tasty treats spread about the studio, it is easy to see that this shop has much more to offer than your run of the mill cookies and cakes. When I met the very talented and friendly Miche Bacher, I knew I was in for a treat. Though she recently released a cookbook, Cooking with Flowers: Sweet and Savory Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender, and Other Edible Flowers, she offered me a brand new recipe that had not been included. The dessert was Chocolate Pansy Cookies. The dish was simple to prepare and tasted amazing. With a crispy outside and chewy inside, it was easily one of the best cookies I have ever had. Not only did it taste wonderful, but it was also appealing to the eye. As you bite into the cookie, you can see small petals of brightly colored flowers mixed in.
We chatted for a while after eating the delicious cookies, where I was able to learn a bit about how cooking with flowers came to be. Hearing Miche talk about using flowers and cooking as a child made it clear just how passionate she is about what she does. With a smile on her face she told me all about the different influences in her life that have led her to be the incredible cook she is today. Each recipe she has come up with is different and unique. For this reason, Miche Bacher's cookbook and cooking are must haves.
Q&A with Miche Bacher:
Q: When did you begin cooking?
A: I have been cooking forever. I have been cooking since I was old enough to remember. My mother loves to entertain but has always bitten off more than she could chew so from the time I was a very young girl I was relegated to things like peeling apples and making the very simple things that could be a part of the meal. I hate to say that my mom's not the best cook in the world but she's not. My father was a really, really good cook, so I learned from both of them.
I did take a detour in my life. I didn't go straight into cooking from college or even high school. I always cooked for love but I became an acupuncturist and an herbalist so that was the path I was going down for a while until I landed back into the culinary world.
Q: Can you tell me about your family?
A: I have two sons, a 14 year old and a 15 year old and I have my husband Noah. We're all happy and healthy for the most part and eat flowers regularly.
Q: Does your family make you cook all the time?
A: I have two teenage boys and a dog, I cook all the time. There's never a time where I'm not cooking... I can't remember a time when I wasn't cooking, where I wasn't the one having the party or hosting the party or entertaining or bringing food to somebody's house. Cooking and feeding people is kind of synonymous with my name. It's just what I do, and yes my family keeps me cooking regularly because they are growing. Both my boys are over 6 ft tall, they're larger than your average bear. I love nothing more than to be in the kitchen and cook.
Q: What's your favorite dish to prepare?
A: I'm fickle, I can't narrow it down, I say this all the time. My favorite is what I'm cooking at that very moment. I can't keep my attention on one thing that I love forever. I really just love to cook, I love to be in the kitchen so whatever I'm cooking in the moment is my favorite thing to make. Generally its because there's some beautiful new ingredient that has just come in that I'm making something with something beautiful and for me that's what inspires me.
Q: What are your feelings on take out dinners?
A: Take out dinners have a time and place. When you are working non stop, because I do work 7 days a week and lots of hours every day and I have two kids and my husband works, so there is a time and a place for take out. We definitely do our share. Guilty pleasures.
Q: What influenced you to start cooking with flowers?
A: I have loved flowers since I was a little baby girl, making dandelion chains in the backyard and doing all kinds of things with lilacs and mud pies. So I've been using flowers forever and ever but I didn't realize they were edible until I was in California and going through my acupuncture training program and I went to a potluck and their were flowers in the salad and I thought hmm ok. Then as one door opens sometimes it opens wider and wider and wider, I started to see all around me the flowers that were edible and they started entering into my herbal studies and I started realizing well flowers are medicine and now we're using them as food and it occurred to me that I can use flowers as more than just an accessory to salad. I could incorporate them into my dishes and really capture the flavor and capitalize on the fact that they do have nutrients and they are actually food just like any other vegetable or herb or spice, they actually do have value in terms of nutrition, not just the flavor profile and the beauty of them.
Q: What makes Mali B. Sweets different
A: What makes us different is that our offerings change all the time. We try not to put ourselves in a box. Of course we have our favorites and we have the things that we have to make like our giant macaroons because we just have a cult following for them, but what makes us different is that we are experimental. We take to heart local cooking and so a lot of our offerings you'll find what's local, especially in the winter.
Q: What is the best part of having the studio, Mali B. Sweets?
A: The best part of having the studio is I have the freedom to create what I want to create. I have a staff, who I am very fortunate to have and they look at me like I'm wacky whenever I want to try something new but I get to try new things all the time. I'm not pinned down and married to creating the same thing over and over and over again. I get to try new tings whenever I want to. That's really fun and interesting for me.
Mali B Sweets is located at 130 Front St Greenport. For more information call 631-477-6762 or visit http://www.malibsweets.com/