Baristaville has many bakeries, but only one that is completely peanut and nut free and that’s Bella’s Bakery in Millburn. And when I say completely peanut and nut free, I mean it in the strictest way. Owner and chef, Janet Antico, makes sure that all of the ingredients that go into the yummy treats come from peanut/nut-free facilities, from the flour to the chocolate, which she orders from the Vermont Nut Free Company.
Antico earned the Grande Diplome for Pastry & Cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu in London in 1997. Soon after, she discovered that her daughter Bella had a peanut and tree nut allergy. That was 13 years ago when nut allergies weren’t as common as they are today. Antico found herself making cupcakes and cookies for school events so she could provide safe treats for Bella. Soon, she had moms and the school system asking for more. She started selling her treats and two years ago, opened up Bella’s Bakery on Essex Street in Millburn.
Cupcakes, which come in many flavors, are the most popular. When you walk into the adorable shop, they are the first thing that catches your eye. Bella’s always has chocolate and vanilla cupcakes to purchase and puts out a few special flavors daily. The day I visited it was Rainbow cupcakes with a baby blue frosting. There was also Red Velvet, which Antico said has become more of a must have since it’s gotten so popular, and a mini Chai Latte flavored cupcake.
There were four large, chunky cookies to try: sugar, cocoa crisp, oatmeal raisin and a Arabella’s Chocolate Chip cookie. Other treats to enjoy are Whoopie Pies, mini chocolate chip cookie sandwiches and biscotti, which Antico makes sure to make on Wednesday for a regular customer who visits weekly from NYC. Bella’s bakes many more treats and cakes, including egg and dairy-free goodies, which you can order by email or phone.
Traditional chocolate and vanilla cupcakes cost $2, specialty flavors are $2.50 and extra special flavors like The Mojito, which has Bacardi Rum, lime zest and fresh mint swirled through classic white cake, are $3.
The shop has chairs on the wrap around porch and a small patio in the back, so you can take the family and enjoy a treat. On Thursday and Friday nights, Bella’s stays open until 9 pm for Café Nights. It would make a perfect after dinner date night.
286 Essex Street
Millburn, NJ 07041
To read a review from my peanut allergic daughter, go over to Barista Kids.