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Bittersweet Bake Shop Is No Secret

BY CAPTAIN D

A STRANGER to town probably wouldn't have guessed that in a back room of the Bittersweet Gift Shop on Main Street in Bucksport lay one sweet little bake shop.

Although baker Marie Chiofolo said a sandwich board was in the works, on this late April day news of the Bittersweet Bake Shop's existence seemed to rely largely on word-of-mouth.

A problem? Not really. It quickly became apparent that word had spread. A steady stream of customers was keeping Marie busy. Everybody seemed eager to try her fresh pastries.

After sampling one of Marie's special Butterfinger Brownies, we gave her space on the Well Kept Secrets page of CaptainD.com. We were happy to do so.

News of Marie's shop got around fast. She opened in early March, and it's been full speed ahead ever since. Retired from municipal government in Massachusetts where she put in many 80-hour weeks, Marie says that now she's working harder than ever. Besides the bake shop, she runs a catering service.

“I’ve always been the family baker and done small functions for friends,” she explained.

The bake shop got under way humbly when Marie began selling cookies and muffins at the gift shop on Fridays. These went well with the breads from Friars' Bakehouse in Bangor that Carol Metthe, owner of the Bittersweet Gift Shop, was offering.

The sweets were immensely popular. When Carol offered Marie her back room, she snapped it up. As this is written, the bake shop is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Marie says she just can’t make enough soft lemon biscottis. “They're not too tart nor are they too sweet,” Marie says. “They feature a fresh lemon fragrance, and they fly off the shelves.”

Also incredibly popular are her crisp and crunchy pizzelles, which are wafer-thin Italian cookies flavored with anise.

Other fine goodies include jumbo peanut butter oatmeal cookies, turtle brownies, black and white blondies, soft ginger cookies, muffins, bars loaves of dessert breads and more.

Marie says her most popular muffin is the sour cream coffee cake closely followed by the cranberry orange.

Patrons can also get lunch to go. Marie gets these selections form the Rhumb Line in Searsport. Included here have been chili, corn chowder, aqnd cut fruit. Marie also offers several sandwiches including albacore tuna, chicken salad, and barbecue chicken.

Some lunches Marie prepares herself. Recent selections have included a pepperoni, mozzarella, asiago and pizza sauce calzone. This summer she plans to add lobster and crab rolls.

Marie e-mails her regulars to let them know what she is serving on any given day.

Marie says she learned to cook by watching her Italian grandmother. According to Marie, this venerable lady, who spoke little English, never used measuring cups or spoons. She weighed everything by feel. Carrying on the tradition, Marie says she can tell by touching the dough if the mix is right.