One day this spring, I spent an entire day driving around Las Vegas, stopping at every bakery I could. I know, I know, terrible job, right? The reason for this Vegas Dessert Escapade was to sample the various treats that could be used instead of a wedding cakeÂ which made for a fun day (with a high sugar intake!) But what I found was even sweeter: a favorite hangout.
As some of you know, I don’t actually live in Las Vegas, but do travel there several times a year. Following my brief stop at Chocolate & Spice Bakery in March, I returned in June and will be returning on my forthcoming trip as well.Â Why does this particular spot call out to me? Well, this chic bakery is not only comfortable and stylish with a great environment for relaxing, getting work done or visiting with friends, it is also incredibly addictive.
Above: The interior of Chocolate & Spice Bakery and set up for a private event
Award Winning Pastry Chef Megan Romano is the mastermind and pÃ¢tissiÃ¨reÂ behind this bakery. She has an extensive background in desserts, and has worked in the kitchens of Charlie Trotter and Charlie Palmer, creating beautiful meal finishing sweets. In 2012, she branched off on her own on Las Vegas’s west side with Chocolate and Spice Bakery.
With the help of some key members of staff, in Chocolate & Spice I think she hasÂ created what I consider the perfect bakery and cafe. It offers a savory, satisfying menu of items like salads, pastas and meat pies, but also a delectable dessert menu that changes all the time, including hand made chocolates, cakes, cookies, gorgeous couture desserts that look as good as they taste and my favorite: miniature pies!
Although I would say that the desserts and pastries feature an innovative slant to the ingredients and design (for example when I visited in March I tried a Guinness bacon truffle, above left) there are more traditional takes too, and premium ingredients Â take a center stage in whatever creation you are trying.
Of course, Chocolate & Spice does wedding cakes (including bundt cakes and ice cream cakes) dessert tables and all sorts of wedding cake alternatives, like bonbons, and truffles, pies and meringues, too.
They have also started to offer a private space perfect for rehearsal dinners or intimate wedding receptions, featuring a rotating seasonal catering menu. They even do cooking classes, which would make for an excellent wedding shower idea, I think!
Megan was kind enough to answer my Better Know a Vendor interview, so get to know a bit more about her and Chocolate and Spice below, and be sure to return Monday for a very special giveaway…
Little Vegas Wedding:Â Hi Megan, thank you so much for your time. So first, are you
originally from Las Vegas? I know you’ve worked in some pretty high end restaurants on the Strip, but also a bit further afield, like Chicago.
Chef Romano: No. I’m from North Haven, CT
LVW: What is your preferred way to work with clients – email, in person, telephone?
CR: It is easiest to start by email, when they can send a description, photos and then we contact more personally by telephone or in person.
LVW:Â How do you start designing a cake for someone who has an idea, but no photos?
CR:Â During a conversation, we can get a good idea of what they are looking for. Â Once we have all necessary details, we will present an complete idea which most often times hits the mark and they feel confident to let us be creative.
LVW:Â Do you do bespoke/custom flavors?
CR:Â We do custom flavors all the time.Â A recent customer would like 10 different flavors of mini pies for a wedding with customized ice creams and sorbets. Â Anther customer would like a Â $100 gift box, primarily of milk chocolate so we will customize our chocolates to milk chocolate.Â We will make gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan upon request.
LVW:Â Have you noticed a change in what couples are wanting in terms of dessert design for their weddings? Do you predict any big trends popping up for 2014? Â
CR:Â Mini desserts are still becoming more popular. Â Couples like the idea of ending the evening with a bit of whimsy, something unexpected such as mini pie and ice cream bar…
LVW:Â What were you doing before you got into baking? Â
CR:Â I have been in the kitchen since I was little. Â I thought about getting into advertising, fine art…which seems to have a lot in common with the culinary arts.
And of course, a few fun questions I always throw in…
On a typical Sunday I am usually …Â but I’d rather be …
CR: I like to sleep in a bit… till 7 am. Â I can’t waste a day so I most like to get outside, hiking, swimming, which usually involves our 3 kids. Â After that, we don’t like to have a lot of plans, we have friends over for dinner, love to get out of town to see something new…
If I wasn’t a baker, I’d probably be:
CR:Â I am honestly not sure what I would be doing. Â I would love to travel and explore what is out there!
Be sure to come back Monday for a special giveaway hosted by Megan and Chocolate & Spice – it’s a “sweet” one!
Chocolate & Spice Bakery
7293 West Sahara Avenue, Suite 8 & 9
Las Vegas,Â Nevada
Fall Hours: 7am to 6pm Monday – Saturday