Sweet & Savory Treats at the Bradenton Public Market

As with all good series, this one ends with the best! Check out this round-up of my favorite sweet & savory treats at the Bradenton Public Market.

This week, we’re wrapping up our series on the Bradenton Public Market, which was created in collaboration with Realize Bradenton. In case you missed it, we started out by exploring some of the amazing BBQ & More you can enjoy at the market or take home for later. 

Then, we got up close and personal with some of the market’s vendors, sharing a few of their favorite recipes made with fresh and delicious items that are available for purchase each week.

 Today, I’m back to tell you all about some of the best sweet treats the market has to offer! Let’s dive right in…

Al Horno Sweet & Savory

Al Horno, which loosely translates to “baked” is the creation of Wanda and George, who are originally from Puerto Rico and now live in Sarasota. I met them months before this assignment while enjoying many of their delicious and original Spanish treats.

I have to admit that I’m partial to their pastries because they bring me back to my childhood years. I have such fond memories of Mallorca o Ensaimada (Spanish Sweet Bread); Quesitos (Cream Cheese Pastries), Pastelillos de Guayaba (Guava Pastries) and Mantecaditos (Thumbprint Cookies).

Mallorcas or Ensaimadas are their best sellers at the market and you’ll know why once you’ve tasted one.

It’s a fluffy, buttery sweet bread originally from the Balearic island of Mallorca in Spain. In Mallorca you call it “ensaimada” and anywhere else you call it “mallorca” because of its origin. 

This is Al Horno’s third season at the Bradenton Public Market. Their baking venture started in 2019 when they retired from their corporate world jobs and embarked on an adventure to become bakers and pastry chefs with professional instruction. This assignment took them to Barcelona, where they attended a training school for two consecutive sessions.

They started their new business upon their return equipped with newly acquired knowledge and years of experimentation from baking for their friends. Some of the first years were spent at the Lakewood Ranch Market but now they call Bradenton their hub. They speak highly of the unparalleled support they receive from the business community here and mostly from the visitors to the market who come back to enjoy their handcrafted baked goods week after week. 

We spoke of future plans, which may include a brick-and-mortar location for a cafe or bakery, and roasting their own coffee. But what is definitely not in their horizon is leaving the handcrafted art of baking.

They’re very proud to say that what sets them apart from so many large-scale bakers is the use of all-natural products and the lack of preservatives in their pastries and breads. Anything they bake is exactly how you would bake it yourself at home.

Every Saturday you will find a considerable selection of quick breads such as Banana Bread, Orange Cranberry Bread, Apple Tart, and Fruit Tart; specialties like Tarta de Santiago (Almond Tart), Pistachio Cookies, Polvorones (Almond Bites), Biscotti, Brownies and Gluten Free Brownies.

Spare Kitchen

The Homemade Sausage & Buttermilk Biscuit from Spare Kitchen is a hot seller at the Bradenton Public Market. It’s always best to secure your order early when you get to the market and make sure they don’t sell out. It’s no secret this is why I get out of bed every Saturday. 😂

Chef Michael Calvino has a long history of accolades and impressive restaurant names in his resume, but I believe it’s his roots growing up in the meat and sausage-making business in North Carolina that most influenced his current incarnation. 

Michael was drawn to the restaurant business when he was fourteen years old and started working his way through the ranks. He then enrolled in culinary school at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY at the age of nineteen.

His career took him to California after completing his degree and it’s during that time that he was Head Chef at the Zagat-rated Ramos House Café which is best known for their upscale Southern-style brunch. He admits this is where he started perfecting his “biscuit game”.

Michael and his wife Claire spent over five years living on their sailboat and immersing themselves in the cuisine of the Baja Peninsula, then returned to land and spent time in several locations between California, Texas, Louisiana, and finally Florida.  After experiencing the intensity of award-winning kitchens and achieving so much at a very young age, Michael has landed near family in Bradenton. 

His market location offers the original Buttermilk Biscuit; a Sausage Biscuit (with his family recipe hand patty); a Pimento Cheese Biscuit and a Chocolate Chip Biscuit. Additionally, you can buy the homemade Pimento Spread or one of other natural spreads; Florida Honey Butter, Wild Blueberry Jam or Plant City Strawberry Preserve.

All of these are great with his Focaccia Loaf or Sourdough Loaf – which he also bakes from scratch.

If you miss him at the Bradenton Public Market, you can find him at The Farmer’s Market Waterside at Lakewood Ranch on Sundays between 9:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Marilyn’s Toffee

Marilyn has staying power and is one of the veterans of the Bradenton Public Market. She’s been with the market through its many names and locations for the past eleven years. Anyone that’s come across her knows of her sweet and persuasive smile. One bite of her Award Winning Toffee is all it takes to be hooked. 

Marilyn moved to Florida from Buckhead, GA some forty five years ago. In 2008, she worked at a large attorney’s firm in town when the market downturn left her out of a job.

She had raised her children before that and had always been a dedicated homemaker, but had never run her own business. She says that as she pondered what to do next, the idea of making toffee came to mind. 

Back in Atlanta, a neighbor had given her a bag of toffee and shared the recipe with her. It was so delicious that she began making toffee for her friends and family as a gift during the holidays. 

While the Christmas Toffee recipe started it all, after some time, she began experimenting to come up with other variations and eventually entered the Tampa Bay Festival of Chocolate at MOSI in 2014.

Not only did she win the Blue Ribbon in the Confectionary Division but she won the Blue Ribbon Best in Show. She remembers it as an intimidating experience. It was a 3-day event with mostly chefs, professional chocolatiers, and such. But it was her toffee that took it all home! 

Marilyn works the market beside her husband Ron and they offer a good selection of toffee flavors. Her best seller is White Chocolate Toffee with Macadamia Nuts, but she also has Cappuccino Toffee, which happens to be my favorite, and other variations such as Dark Chocolate Toffee with Macadamia Nuts; Almond Roca Toffee; Dark Chocolate Toffee; Milk Chocolate Toffee and Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Toffee with Macadamia Nuts.

She always has samples, so next time you’re at the market, but sure to stop by and give it a try! 

Sylvia’s Heavenly Cheesecakes

Sylvia has been at the Bradenton Public Market for three seasons now. When asked about how she learned her trade, she told me that learned baking and cooking from her high school home economics class.

This is a common thread among many of the businesses that I’ve encountered at the market. It seems that a large number of the vendors have sprouted from family traditions and self-taught makers.

She tells me that her friends always loved her cheesecakes and they would ask her to make them for their parties.

The business grew organically, and today has a market presence as well as supplying her cheesecakes and other desserts to Ferraro’s Italian Grille in Parrish. 

Sylvia is always trying new ideas and has a large selection of treats. The special on this day was the Cookie Monster Cheesecake, a traditional graham cracker crust filled with colored cheesecake and oreo cookie mix, and then topped with chocolate chip cookie pieces and drizzled with chocolate ganache. It was not only delicious but also a beautiful creation.

Other cheesecake flavors include Strawberry Cheesecake, Blueberry Cheesecake, and Turtle Cheesecake. You can also find Homemade Apple Crisp and Cookies among other tasty treats that she offers at the market.

There’s a good reason why she made my list – it’s always time for dessert in my world. 

Did you enjoy this article? Share it on your favorite social media platform! 


More Posts

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse!

Get all of our latest blog posts delivered right to your inbox every Monday morning!

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse!

Get our latest articles
delivered right to your inbox
every Monday morning.