Elle's Bakery: Treats for Our Sweets
Apr 03, 2012 10:08AM
The shop is named for Denyse’s beloved Elle, a Border Collie and Terrier mix, approximately seven or eight years old.
Denyse recalls her first encounter with Elle with both fondness and sadness. “We adopted Elle from the Sarasota Sheriff's animal shelter,” she said. “Elle had been treated so badly that she pulled out many teeth trying to escape. This precious baby has barked only twice in the four years that we have been so blessed to have her in our home, and is the sweetest and smartest dog ever. Everyone who meets Elle falls in love with her – even non-dog lovers.”
She added with a laugh, “I can say her face has gotten a lot grayer since we rescued her four years ago but I've grayed, too! We are both vintage ladies!”
The business has enjoyed nearly two years of success. “We’ve been having fun with this,” Denyse said, “and have enjoyed so many acknowledgements, awards and kind words throughout.”
While Elle gets the crème de la crème of these home-baked treats, Denyse also makes natural foods for many other canines, including Nacho and Taco. “These guys belong to a wonderful woman in Bradenton,” she said, “and they’re my best buds. I make dog food for them.”
“Many customers tell me their dogs will no longer eat store treats or any treats that don't come from us,” Denyse continued. “All of our treats are custom made to match your dog's health, tastes, age and dietary restrictions. We are very proud to make special treats just for sick dogs.”
She added, “When I was contemplating this business, I did a lot of research. Besides the Internet, I studied eight dog cookbooks, with two of those devoted specifically to dogs that are ill.”
Denyse makes everything that comes out of her kitchen using fresh veggies, fruits and homemade peanut butter. The gluten-free flours and spices come from an organic company. She uses no added salts, sugars or preservatives.
“My treats are not perfect in shape,” she acknowledged, “but you know they are fresh-made at the time of the order. My daughter is a Vegan so I consider her my quality controller! The recipe for my Kosher treats is from a Rabbi!”
Denyse is gearing up for the holidays, although she is busy year-round with special orders and gift baskets. “Last year I did 27 gift baskets for a local groomer to give her clients for the holidays,” she said, then added, “but of course, every day at Elle’s is a holiday!”
She has also provided gift baskets to many community events such as Sarasota Guide Dogs, Nate’s Place and other organizations looking for a raffle gift for their events. Recently she provided a gift basket as a raffle item to raise money for a local woman to defer medical costs for chemotherapy treatment.
Denyse’s newest gift basket is “Congratulations, it's a Puppy!" and includes items specific for a new puppy or rescue.
And what happens when someone accidentally picks up a Puppypop or Snickerpoodle thinking it’s just a cute hors d'oeuvre? “Everything I make, you can eat,” she said. “People laugh when I say that but I can tell you countless stories about people buying my dog muffins and someone in the household ate them, and wanted more! There is nothing in my treats and foods that would harm you or your pet and I am very proud of that. I do this for the joy of it and if my going the extra mile to provide a truly good, natural and wholesome goodie is appreciated, then that is a bonus for me!”
The recipes are totally user-friendly. Everything comes from the grocery store, right down to the organic eggs and purified water. She has graciously shared one of her recipes with Natural Awakenings Pet readers (see above).
“Since Elle is the official taste tester, I don’t think there’s anything I’ve made that she doesn’t love,” said Denyse, “but it seems she is very fond of carrot muffins. My Snickerpoodles, Puppypops (my invention) and gift baskets are pretty popular. Then I'd say the birthday cakes – even the meatloaf birthday cake was a hit.”