Super chewy, soft pretzels put a smile on the face of even the crankiest kid, so it’s no surprise that families are flocking from Suffolk to Nassau for a freshly baked dozen of the real deal. The Pretzel Shop, located in Rockville Centre, offers hands-on pretzel making classes for families that allow you to skip the trek to find a great pretzel and learn how to make one in your own kitchen.
“Pretzels are my passion,” owner Carolyn Vella, says. “We wanted to share our love for baking with other families.” Vella's inspiration for opening the nut-free bakery was her son Michael, who has many food allergies. “Our goal was to create an environment that is safe for all children.” Vella’s history with pretzels dates back to a home her family used to have in the Poconos. “We used to go to the flea market every week to get hot pretzels from a small vendor."
The pretzel dough is freshly mixed and twisted by hand every day. In fact, when we walked into the shop, bakers were mixing dough right in front of us. Its flavor and smell upon entering the shop comes from a traditional baking method. In addition to the homemade pretzels and nuggets, the bakery offers a variety of cookies, candies and treats.
Thursday through Sunday, the head artisan pretzel bakers teach families the ins and outs of making an authentic Philadelphia-style pretzel from scratch, including how to twist the dough into shape and create a brown crispy exterior and a fluffy doughy interior. The interactive class, which costs $15 per person, provides the techniques to mix, knead, shape and bake the quintessential pretzel. Plus, families will learn the history of the popular snack and get a tour of the behind the scenes action. At the end of class, attendees enjoy trying the fresh pretzels they made with classic toppings such as cheddar cheese, ranch, chipotle, aioli, chocolate, caramel, buttercream, and cinnamon sugar. There are also four different types of mustards offered: yellow, spicy, honey, dijon and whole grain.
The Pretzel Shop is a great destination for birthday celebrations. Its “Celebrate with a Twist” party packages include an hour and a half of pretzel making. It also includes individual sets of dough, aprons, chef hats, wood boards and dipping sauce for $18.95 per child. Pretzel nuggets and refreshments are given while children twist. Once the pretzels go into the oven, a pizza lunch is served. The birthday boy or girl gets to bake for free and for an additional fee, popcorn, cupcakes, face painting, cake, goody bags and live entertainment is offered.
The best part of the experience is that you can easily replicate the recipe at home. Cooking together can be a delicious learning experience for children and their parents. Kids can explore new foods, learn about nutrition, and develop math and reading skills as they measure and read directions. Who knows maybe a trip to The Pretzel Shop will inspire your little one to spend more time in the kitchen learning to cook?
The Pretzel Shop is located at 106 S Long Beach Rd. in Rockville Centre. You can get more information by visiting the shop’s website at www.thepretzelshop.com or calling (516) 543-5050.
natalie ferro aurigema
Sharing all the things that make me happy through this blog.
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