Satisfying More Than a Sweet Tooth
Toni Chiappetta took a slight detour this past spring from baking her popular pies, cakes, and cookies. The longtime proprietor of the Napa Mill-located Sweetie Pies saw a need, and she filled it. Chiapetta turned her bakery into a general store, selling bread, flour, eggs, and yeast. She then moved to crafting full dinners, each made with locally sourced, high-quality ingredients and offered for pre-order and pick-up. Her menu included savory chicken pot pie, flavorful pastas, and tasty meatloaf and mashed potatoes. “Comfort foods,” she said. “Items your mother might make.” Her quick thinking and ability to adapt allowed her to keep Sweetie Pies open, much to the delight of anyone who has ever sampled a Sweetie Pies confection.
An East Coast native with a culinary background, Chiappetta moved to Napa in 1990 to help open Table 29 as bread and pastry chef – now Bistro Don Giovanni. She founded Sweetie Pies in 1994 and moved to her current location in 2000. In addition to her brick and mortar shop, her sweet treats are sold throughout the Valley at retail locations such as Gary’s Marketplace, Oakville Grocery, Sunshine Market, and her neighborhood grocery, Brown’s Valley Market. Consistent customer favorites include her Summer Berries Cake, Whoopie Pies, Anzac and S’mores cookies, and her award-winning pumpkin and apple pies. More recently, her creative ‘Toilet Paper Cake’ has become an Instagram-able sensation: chocolate cake with milk chocolate mousse, covered in vanilla buttercream, in the shape of…a roll of toilet paper. She also makes ‘mask’ cakes.
Her confections provoke smiles and giggles, bringing a bit of levity to what Chiappetta admits has been a very scary and stressful time.
“We managed to do well despite all of the setbacks,” said Chiappetta, who has always proudly paid it forward by supporting local schools, charities, and charitable events. A music school grad, she finds relaxation as a singer with Live Band Karaoke Sonoma, delivering driveway performances the third Thursday of each month, viewable via Facebook. She’s also a member of Sing Napa Valley, the local community choir.
Chiappetta’s take-out dinner program has been so popular that she is continuing the practice. In addition to the above-listed items, the rotating menu includes crepes manicotti, beer can chicken, and steak salad. Far away fans can order her soul-soothing chicken pot pie via Goldbelly, the curated online market- place for gourmet foods that also features a selection of Sweetie Pies pies, coffee cakes, and cookies. Future plans include a pick up window for carry-out orders and a grab-and- go case for breakfast and lunch items.
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Article By: Fran Miller