For three years, Bhavatarini Carr has been selling baked goods made in her Burlington kitchen under the name Four Sisters Bakery. This month she'll soft-open her Sweet Alchemy Bakery and Café, located in the Barns at Lang Farm (43 Upper Main Street) in Essex Junction. Carr will offer pastries, tea and coffee on weekends for the rest of May and plans to serve breakfast and lunch six days a week by mid-June.
The entire operation will be meat- and egg-free, and many of the baked goods will exclude dairy, soy and gluten. Carr herself is a vegetarian who eats gluten and occasional dairy, but she takes pleasure in replicating the textures of traditional recipes with allergen-free ingredients.
"I'm an accidental chemist," Carr said. "Focusing on this niche market has worked really well for me."
Carr loves to re-create family recipes, such as her grandmother's spiced-apple cake and bitter-chocolate-almond cake. She also turns out whoopie pies, savory turnovers, fruit tarts and "everything under the sun," she surmised.
The 1,500-square-foot space, approximately half of which comprises the kitchen, holds 20 seats in the dining room and many more outdoors. "I want you to be able to sit down in the café and not be bumped up against someone else," Carr said.
In that spacious dining room, she'll serve specialties such as dairy-free butternut-squash "mac and cheese," Thai peanut salad, falafel subs, and a few dishes influenced by her time living in India, including a sourdough lentil pancake filled with potato curry. "I'm creating this menu around things I love to eat," Carr said.