It’s no surprise that the best bakery treats can be found at local mom-and-pop shops like downtown Jersey City’s Made With Love. With their organic and free-trade products, this newly opened bakery gives and gets a lot of tender loving care.
Owner Celeste Governanti serves artisanal treats in her cozy and slender space at 530 Jersey Ave., lined with intimate tables and chairs and frequented by the kind of clientele usually found at a local coffee shop.
“Everything here is artisanal and made by hand,” Governanti said. “Some bakeries are like factories; they add water and bake. We do the exact opposite.”
Governanti opened the bakery in December of 2008 after attending bread-making classes at the French Culinary Institute. Growing up in an Italian-American family, she remembers baking pies and cookies as a child – hand-me-down recipes that she now incorporates into the menu.
“People come far and wide for the granola.” – Alan Eisenstein
Assistant Alan Eisenstein started working at the store in January after eating one of Made With Love’s famed scones.
“I had the apple cheddar scone,” Eisenstein said, “and I fell in love with the place.”
According to Eisenstein, the homemade granola is the stuff of legend among the store’s loyal customers. “People come far and wide for the granola,” he said. Made with a bounty of roasted oats and nuts, the granola is topped with a honey butter sauce.
For the summer season, the store will offer organic lemonades, herbal teas made with passion fruit and hibiscus, fruit salads and more.
“We offer a seasonal menu,” Governanti said. “But some things like the gingerbread men, people want all year round.”
Lessons with love
Made With Love offers more than quality baked goods. The store hosts baking classes for adults and children that are aimed at passing on the culinary craft.
“Baking is very rewarding,” Governanti said. “It’s self-satisfying to feed your family healthy food. The whole experience is very therapeutic.” Governanti said that it is important to know what you’re feeding your children, especially in today’s world of nation-wide recalls.
“It’s horrifying to think what is in grocery store products,” Governanti said, “that a jar of peanut butter can be poisoned.”
Her “Kids in the Kitchen” class opens her sunny back-room kitchen to children who want to get hands-on instruction from the master baker herself.
A part of the community
In addition to classes, the bakery also hosts a number of other events, like jazz nights featuring one of Jersey City’s finest pianists, Brendan Kibbee. This season Made With Love will take part in JC Fridays, a biannual citywide arts and music festival. For the event, the bakery will host live entertainment from world beat musician Joel Chassan; “The Balloonatic”, making everything out of balloons, and the vintage photography exhibit, “Tiny Happy Things.” And of course, a baking demonstration by Chef Marco called “Spinning Sugar Magic.”
For more information on Made With Love, 530 Jersey Ave. in Jersey City, visit www.madewithloveorganics.com.
Sean Allocca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org