Looking for a sweet treat made from real, natural, and fresh ingredients that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face? Then put that package of Chips Ahoy back on the shelf, toss your Twinkies to the dog, and head over to Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies & Cupcakes at 3410 North Anthony; or give them a call, they deliver locally and ship nationwide.
The first things you’ll notice as soon as you walk in are the mouthwatering aroma of fresh baked goodness and a smiling hello. It’s a quaint space, but there’s plenty of room for a few tables and chairs to sit down and savor your dessert. A chalkboard hanging behind the display case lists the options of the day, which while I was visiting included five varieties of cookies and six cupcake choices. They also have biscotti, along with gluten free cookies…I’m reassured by the proprietor they are every bit as good as the gluten-ful versions.
I sat down with Co-owner and Marketing Chef, Sandra Wharton, who is as energetic and endearing as you would want in a store full of homemade goodness. Ms. Wharton took the time to walk me through their experience being on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, how their cookies were the talk of the Daytime Emmys gift baskets in Hollywood, and the extensive process they went through to get accepted into the prestigious Specialty Food Association. Those are all very fine accomplishments and points of recognition, putting Vanilla Bean in very rare company locally. However, it seems that while Vanilla Bean is renown regionally and even nationally, it is still a hidden gem in Fort Wayne.
My co-workers and I tried a number of different cupcakes and cookies and not surprisingly, we were extremely impressed. After the first bite there’s no doubt that they use real butter and sugar, no artificial stuff or substitutes. Our consensus favorite was the Lemon Ricotta cookie, which was not overly sweet or tart, just a soft, tangy, tasty delight. Not many people have nearly the sweet tooth I do, but there was something for everyone to enjoy.
Seriously, I loved everything, enough so that it doesn’t make sense for me to try and describe each one – check out their website and you can see that they’ve already done that for you. All I can say is you cannot go wrong with whatever you choose. Some of my other favorites were the Cinnamon Toast cupcake, the Chocolate Dream cupcake, the Simply Vanilla cupcake, the Cherry Chip Cordial cookie, the Funky Chocolate Chip, Toffee, & Pecan cookie, and the Margarita sandwich cookie – did I mention I have an insatiable sweet tooth? And don’t hesitate to ask the person helping you for guidance.
Not to get preachy, but all too often we get caught up in our regular stops, comfortable with our favorite chains, and casually dismiss certain parts of town that we don’t often frequent or live near. In reality, it’s not that difficult or time-consuming to get just about anywhere in the Fort and we have a lot of very special merchants here that need our support. Otherwise, they are going to come and go, and we’ll continue to be dominated by corporate giants peddling processed, preservative-laden junk.
Do yourself a favor – check out Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies & Cupcakes. It’s a playful place to sit down and indulge in a guilty pleasure, order a gift for a nearby or long-lost friend, or cater the dessert at your next special event; they even do mini versions of their cookies so you can stretch your dollar and not your stomach!
Vanilla Bean products can also be found locally at Raimondos’s Pizza on West State and Lutheran Hospital, as well as regionally in three stores in Ohio and one in Illinois.
Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies & Cupcakes
Address: 3410 North Anthony Blvd, Fort Wayne