Food: Talking with Donna Damiano of Amaretti Dessert

July 19, 2014 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article interviews Donna Damiano of Amaretti Dessert, a Jacksonville bakery, about her contribution to the local dining and foodie scene.

Talking desserts with Donna Damiano

1. Tell us about Amaretti Desserts.

We’re a bakery opened by my husband and I in June of 2013. We worked together in high school at my parent’s restaurant so we had an idea what it takes to be in the business. Now that our kids have grown we decided it was time to open our own place. Our idea for Amaretti Desserts came from our desire to have a place to go after dinner for dessert or to stop by to pick up something for an event or guest at our house.

We offer several types of cakes along with cheesecakes, pies, and pastries such as eclairs and cannolis. We have traditional cookies, like peanut butter and chocolate chip, but one of our biggest sellers is our Italian cookies that are sold by the pound. Along with many Southern influenced desserts such as Key Lime Pie and Red Velvet Cake we also feature many desserts that would be considered Italian, but with a style that fits Jacksonville.

What makes Amaretti Desserts special is our commitment to make everything from scratch with fresh ingredients, right here in the bakery.

Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes. Photo courtesy Amaretti Desserts.

2. How would you describe Italian style desserts to someone not familiar with them?

Coming from an Italian family, I’d have to describe Italian style desserts as some of the desserts that I grew up with. They aren't exactly like the bakery desserts that people are used to from Italian bakeries in the Northern states. They have that taste that makes you think you are having dessert with an Italian family. A few of the classic Italian desserts we offer are Tiramisu, Eclairs, Cream Puffs, Cannolis, New York style Cheesecake, and our Italian and Amaretti Cookies. We also make an Italian Rum Cake, Italian Wedding Cake, Napoleons, and a few other items for special orders. For the holidays I’ll also make Ricotta Pie, Ricotta Cheesecake, and Pizzelles, which are Italian wafer cookies.

3. What’s an Italian Cookie?

An Italian Cookie is basically a small butter based cookie, baked in many different ways. We have plain and chocolate versions, some with sprinkles, some with jam, and some dipped in chocolate. My personal favorite is our finger-style cookie, sandwiched with raspberry jam, and dipped in chocolate. Yum!

4. Where does the name, Amaretti Desserts, come from?

Our name comes from an almond based Italian cookie that can always be found in our case. I love almost anything made with some type of almond in it, so the "Amaretti" cookie seemed to be a good fit.

5. Is Amaretti Desserts a take-out bakery or is it eat-in?

A big part of our business is take out but we also have seating for about 20 people. We often have guests here eating breakfast or enjoying dessert after having a meal at one of the nearby restaurants.

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