Bella puts her best foot forward
Bella’s Best organic gourmet goodies sets up booths at farmers markets around the metro area, selling cookies, breads, and sweet potato biscuits. But Ray Grady saves the most persuasive sales pitch for his company’s signature dessert. “Try the strucla,” he says. “It has apricots, walnuts, golden raisins, coconut, and some mmm, mmm, mmm.”
Much of the extra “mmm” comes from the strucla’s cream cheese pastry, which strikes many of Bella’s customers as a cross between rugelach, a Jewish treat, and strudel. Grady’s wife, Kim, a former communications professor, learned the recipe from watching her Aunt Bella, who made strucla as a much-anticipated, once-a-year Christmas indulgence. Kim never asked Bella how she came to master the sweet or if she knew the origin of the unusual name, but she’s adopted it for her business with booming success. Bella’s original called for homemade apricot preserves, but Kim changes her filling with the seasons; in addition to always having apricot, she uses apple or raspberry preserves or even chocolate. This time of year, the Gradys stock up on local organic strawberries for other products like lemonade, shortcake, and miniature cheesecakes.
Find their revolving selection of strucla and other goodies at weekly markets such as Sandy Springs, Emory, Georgia Tech, and Douglasville. bellasbestcookies.com
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore