A Sweet Expansion

Carissa’s floral shortbread cookies

An ice cream truck sighting signals the sweet arrival of summer, for many. However, for a carbivore (those who indulge in carbs) it’s a 1965 Citroen HY Van also known as the Carissa’s Breads bread truck. While the Citroen may not make its rounds quite like Mister Softee — it’s only used for the occasional event — it’s a sure sign of warmer days when it’s parked at The Clam Bar.

The original business of Carissa’s Breads was incorporated in 2011 by partners Carissa Waechter and Lori Chemla, who actually found the bread truck. Dark stout, challah on Fridays, honey oat loaf, olive ciabatta, salty soured pickled rye, sweet potato brioche, baguettes — the choices up the ante on any sandwich.

“Our sourdough bread may be the most special to me because the sour was originally started in Amagansett in 1965 by a guy named John de Cuevas,” Waechter explained. “When I was starting out my business I qualified for a grant from his foundation, as Amber Waves Farm did. The sourdough contains amber wheat, so the whole thing is rich in history and really unique to the area, and none of it would be possible without John.” Amagansett’s Amber Waves came full circle as the source of inspiration for the opening of Waechter’s business. “The incredible ingredients, wheat in particular, were grown by two women [Amanda Merrow and Katie Baldwin] who had just started their business.”

Beyond bread, Carissa’s The Bakery, which opened in 2017 on 68 Newtown Lane in East Hampton, has customers salivating over their pastries of assorted croissants, polenta cake, even snails — a puff pastry with feta and young green olives. Cakes and pies of classic apple, flourless chocolate, rhubarb meringue, and beyond abound.

“When I was well into my career as a pastry chef, I discovered my great-grandmother was the famous pie baker of her area and lived on a wheat farm. My grandmother and her sister sold pies door-to-door, so it’s definitely in the blood,” Waechter recalled of her family heritage.

Upon looking at, or reading through, the assortment of delectables, it’s easy to miss the sandwiches and soups options available. However, overlooking those items will be a thing of the past as the future holds a new, second location at 221 Pantigo Road in East Hampton. The 3500-square-foot space, opening this summer, will feature a restaurant, bar, and larger production space.

“We’re really thrilled about the next chapter and new baking adventures with our amazing team and incredible customers,” Waechter said.

The team tries to source their ingredients as locally as possible, getting a true taste of the East End; Balsam, Quail Hill, Stones Throw, and Amber Waves, with an open heart to working with more.

See more at www.carissasthebakery.com.

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