“A labor of love” – this is what Violette Bakers calls its approach to baking. On August 1, Violette opened its first storefront shop at 1001 Mass Ave below O2 Yoga. The store will be open Wednesday to Friday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Violette uses natural, healthy ingredients from local sources to bring healthy and delicious treats to Cambridge. In addition, “everything is gluten-free, soy-free and peanut-free,” says founder Leesteffy Jenkins, though she warns that they do use other nuts, like almonds.
Jenkins says the new retail space is a first for Violette, which has been bringing its baked goods to several Cambridge farmers markets for the past year. Before that, she was baking “for a while in France.” Within the new space, Jenkins will have both indoor and outdoor seating, flowers, a space for growing herbs indoors and a “very French” interior. She hopes that another compatible business will move into the vacant space next to the bakery in the future.
In addition to the bakery items sold at farmers markets, the store will offer some different delectable treats as well. “There are more options here,” says Jenkins. “Things that are difficult to transport [to farmers markets], like our three-layer cake.”
The bakery operates on a four-week menu that rotates regularly, along with specials based on the season and what’s available, like the double chocolate cupcake made with arugula. Violette has also been trying out a new frozen macaron. “We’re trying all of our flavors frozen, and bringing a few [to each farmers market],” Jenkins says. Stop by and try one out at the new storefront – we recommend the cheesecake flavor.
In the long term, Jenkins is hopeful for the store’s future. “If it works for retail, it will be [a] permanent [space],” she says. “It all depends on who walks through the door.”