Canton resident Miriam Hope Rieder, 20, was just a fan of Elvis Duran and the Morning Show when she sent in some truffles to the New York-based radio station about a year ago.
“They talked about my truffles on air after they tasted them and my business went viral overnight,” said Rieder, who opened Taste by Spellbound in Avon on March 31.
She quit her administrative jobs at a car dealership and maintenance company right away to focus on making cake-based truffles that she rolls and dips by hand.
Her truffle flavors include Cookie Monster (cookie dough dipped in dark or milk chocolate), Black Magic (dark chocolate), Lemon-Lavender (dipped in white chocolate and decorated with lavender sugar), Peter Rabbit (carrot cake base), Red Velvet (red velvet cream cheese cake dipped in white, dark and milk chocolate), Good Morning (chocolate with hints of espresso) and pink champagne (strawberry and champagne taste).
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For the past year, she has sold and shipped her truffles nationwide though her website, spellboundgirl.com, along with her 2009 Spellbound hat and headband line. The sweet side of her business led her to name her bakery Taste by Spellbound.
Maria Braverman, of Simsbury, was one customer who was spellbound by another one of Rieder’s specialties – scones. She recently came back to the Ensign Drive bakery, nestled in a small brownstone building next to , wanting more of the blueberry scones her Avon Pilates instructor, brought to class one day.
“Being a scone lover and having sampled them in so many bakeries and places, they were one of the best because there was the texture, the flavor,” Braverman said. “It wasn’t too sweet. I don’t know how to describe it. It just melted in my mouth.”
Taste by Spellbound also sells cakes, cookies, cupcakes, beverages and coffee.
While this is her first bakery, Rieder has made truffles and desserts for years, between cooking with her mother, Ruth Harvey and making sweets for friends.
“I tease her. I taught her everything she knows,” Harvey said. “I put her in a cake decorating [class] at 10, which is actually what started her in her desire for creating things…. She started her first business decorating cakes at 11.”
She also credits Twitter as a contributing factor in being discovered by Elvis Duran and crew. An avid social media networker, Rieder’s Twitter handle is @MiriamHope. Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/spellboundgirl.
Her truffles and sweets have caught the eyes of NBC Connecticut and Better Connecticut.
Opening a bakery is part of Rieder's 2010 New Year’s resolution to bake more after taking time off from it.
“We had looked at this spot a year ago,” said Rieder, who previously lived in Enfield after moving to the state from New Mexico. “I’ve always loved Avon.”
Customers can watch Rieder make truffles and other sweets in the open kitchen next to the bakery and in front of a large window.
There are a couple tables for people to sit to enjoy their sweets or scones while reading or using laptops. The bakery also has wireless Internet.
Rieder collaborated with Joshua M. Wood, of J. Michaels, and her mother, Ruth Harvey on the interior design, creating a fairy tale atmosphere. Butterflies grace the far wall to the right. The furniture is re-purposed for a vintage feel, including refurbished theater chairs and tables anchored by fire extinguishers. Framed photographs by Adrien Broom of Rieder’s Alice in Wonderland fashion shoot are on the bakery shelves. The pictures are the final piece to demonstrate her mantra – “fusing food, fashion and furnishings.”
Her desserts need not have the “Eat Me” sign from Alice in Wonderland next to them to tempt customers’ appetites, but fairy tales perhaps remain a large part of Rieder’s image because she is living her dream.
Yet she can never dream too big. Someday, Rieder said, she wants to expand her business to New York and possibly Darien and Greenwich. After spreading to other big United States cities, Rieder evtually hopes to bring Taste by Spellbound to London, Dubai and Paris.
Rieder sees it as fate that Elvis Duran took a liking to her truffles of all the food sent to him.
“It was meant to be. That doesn’t happen to everybody,” Rieder said.
Taste by Spellbound is located at 5 Ensign Drive. Its hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The bakery is closed Mondays and Sundays. For more information, Rieder can be reached at 860-284-0000 and firstname.lastname@example.org.