Can a piece of cake cure your sore throat, or perhaps prevent cancer? It can at least help, according to Mali B Sweets owner and chef Miche Bacher, author of the newly released book “Cooking with Flowers.”
Ms. Bacher has dedicated her Greenport business and culinary expertise to creating unique desserts from local ingredients including homegrown roses, violets and orchids. The flowers pack a punch, not just in flavor but also in phytonutrients, she said. The treats featured in the cookbook contain vitamins A, C and E, making for delicious, yet nutrient-filled indulgences.
Aside from being a world-renowned chef, Ms. Bacher is an avid gardener with a background in herbal medicine. She realized her passion for edible flowers while attending school in California, where she was presented with a salad studded with blossoms.
“My eyes were opened to the idea of eating these beautiful things,” she said. At school, she learned some flowers even contain anti-tumor or anti-carcinogenic properties.
Many might be timid to try food with flowers, but Ms. Bacher says, “don’t be afraid.” In fact, if you’ve ever eaten broccoli, cauliflower or artichokes, you’ve already eaten flowers. You don’t have to be a master gardener or trained chef either. The cookbook is a collection of 100 easy-to-follow recipes that demystifies the process.
“My goal was to create something so sensual it makes you want to jump into the page,” Ms. Bacher said. “We’re so lucky to be in Greenport, where you can buy flowers, or if you want to grow your own you can go over to the nursery.”
Not only are the flowers homegrown, the business is too. Ms. Bacher cofounded Mali B Sweets, formerly known as Sacred Sweets, 12 years ago, with fellow chef Nanao Anton. The business offers specialty cakes, cookies, chocolate and other treats that regularly change to adapt to customer demand, market availability and the seasons. Right down to the packaging, everything at Mali B Sweets is handcrafted.
Their desserts have an international following. Ms. Bacher goes as far as hand painting the store’s chocolate bar labels. One wedding cake was selected by Brides magazine as one of the 24 most beautiful in the nation.
Despite some bigtime success, Ms. Bacher said the focus at the bakery is on their small-town roots. When the book idea first came to light, the local community rallied around the project. Greenport businesses allowed Ms. Bacher to use their spaces to stage the photos.
Ms. Bacher is currently working on her next book idea. She will be signing copies of “Cooking with Flowers” on Saturday, May 11, at Floyd Memorial Library, 539 First St. in Greenport.