SPRING HILL — Nothing whispers holiday bliss like homemade candies, cookies and classic bakery treats, displayed inside glass cases in a local quaint eatery.
And for 4-year old Kyleigh Baker, nothing tastes better. She and her aunt, Jenna Harsanyi, visited Weeki Wachee Candy Company Bakery & Cafe as a reward. Little Kyleigh had just braved two shots.
“She only ate a couple bites,” said Harsanyi, a bit surprised. Weeki Wachee Candy Co. was a favorite stop for her niece, who loves the ice cream, she said. But Kyleigh seemed a bit more interested in posing with her fluffy pink vest in front of the glass displays.
Jennifer Trozzo and her husband opened the store in June and were busy preparing to welcome their first holiday season. Custom candies, cookies, dessert bars, pastries, cakes, pies, and other bakery treats were flying off the displays as orders continued to come in. In fact, the store had grown so quickly from its original candy concept. It now additionally offers a cafe with breakfast and lunch sandwiches, soups, salads and locally purchased specialty coffees and teas.
Customers can take their goodies to go or sit down and enjoy the aura of cozy small business charm. From homemade gingerbread houses to decorated Christmas tree cookies, the spirit of the season was in full swing.
Trozzo said the concept came from her husband who wanted to open a candy shop. She was also a savvy baker, which laid the foundation for the combination confectionary, bakery and cafe.
“I tried to keep up with the baking for about a week,” she laughed. “Then I realized I had to hire someone.”
Weeki Wachee Candy Company offers a wide range of items to fit nearly every taste. They will custom make most requests and offer pre-ordered gluten-free selections.
The creativity in the kitchen comes from a team of enthusiastic pastry chefs, decorators and cooks whose passions mimic Trozzo’s. Kristin Fitzpatrick, Amber Newhell and Janet Houck all bring an extensive background in their crafts. And when things get crazy, like during the holiday rush, Trozzo has a number of assistance as support staff.
Popular items include the giant buttery crescents, turtle candy and cinnamon rolls, Jennifer said. They also bake specialty cookies, French Napoleons, peanut butter blossoms, coconut macaroons, brownies and beautiful layer cakes and dessert pies, to name only a slight sampling of the menu.
Everything is baked fresh daily. “We are always baking,” Trozzo chuckled.
Weeki Wachee Candy Company also serves custom made paninis, soups and salads and whole leaf teas, specialty coffees and ice cream.
While the variety is impressive, there are still a few things Trozzo would like to attempt that she hasn’t tried yet. Sponge candy is one of those items. Her customers are her best sources for new ideas. They request items and she does her best to fulfill them.
The business has been so good that Weeki Wachee Candy Company is expanding into the adjacent unit. They are adding additional booth to increase the dining space for parties, meetings and other social gatherings. The expansion will allow them to accommodate larger parties of 30 guests.
Trozzo hopes to host tea parties with the full leaf teas they offer, paired with their customer-approved homemade scones. The decor is elegant, with lace curtains and antique furnishings. And the wall will display a collection of mermaid prints given to the couple by a customer.
The holiday rush has been consistent, with local businesses ordering bulk items for corporate gifting. A local chiropractor ordered 25 cheesecakes, she said. And for Thanksgiving, the number of pies they baked was crazy. Trozzo anticipates a similar Christmas week.
Robin Fogle swears by the Bayou Bar, an indulgence she purchases often. She buys two each visit, one for her and one for her boyfriend. “I don’t share,” she said.
Fogle has been a regular since stumbling on the eatery shortly after it opened. “Everything here is just amazing.”