Have you heard of The Crazy Baker® in West Virginia? If you haven’t, you have been missing some great pastries and other goodies! The Crazy Baker® is Hall Hitzig and his bakery is located in a small, rural community in Renick, West Virginia. I met with Hall last week at the small production bakery located a few miles from his mountain top home.
The facility is not fancy, and when you walk in the building you know it is a production facility. There is a sheeter for rolling the dough, large and small ovens, large work benches, trays, and small and large mixers. WOW the large mixers are huge …. Mixes 160 pounds of dough. Now that’s a lot of dough! (See the photos below).
Hitzig says, “I prepare my pastries with care, using traditional methods and only the best ingredients available. With a commitment to quality in every phase of my work, I choose quality European style butter, 100% pure natural vanilla, fresh local eggs, excellent imported chocolates, and high quality flours. These provide my basic palette. Combining these with an array of other select natural and organic ingredients, I make everything by hand.” He gets almonds from California; fruit from Switzerland, and uses chocolate from small farms in South America.
“This rural environment continually inspires me, and provides many of the ingredients I use regularly - blueberries, farm eggs, vegetables for quiche, and the honey I use in my granola, to name a few.”
Hitzig is originally from New York, moved to Renick and worked at the Lewisburg Airport as Director of Maintenance. He said, “I have baked throughout my life, culminating my professional career with the opening of The Crazy Baker® in August 2002.” He graduated as a pastry chef with honors from L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD, and gained additional training at hotels and restaurants in the US and abroad. Hitzig has lived in Renick, WV with his wife, Amy and their three children since 1986.
When I asked Hitzig “Why are you called The Crazy Baker®” his answer was…………“Well, if you ask my wife, she will tell you that instead of starting a bakery at the age when many retire, I should have just bought a red sports car!”
"As The Crazy Baker®, I love and respect what I bake. My goal is to create delicious foods using the very best ingredients that I can purchase. I look for the freshest and most local products first, including organically raised ingredients." His primary goal is that customers enjoy what he creates. He is so sure of his products that for any reason you are not satisfied, he will refund you the purchase price.
The Crazy Baker® provides baked goods to individuals, gourmet shops, select groceries and fine restaurants, health food stores, coffee shops, and wineries, throughout the U.S.
The shop is closed the month of January. There are two other people working at the facility. Amy, The Crazy Baker's® wife, and love of his life, is also a partner in the business.
Jeff Kessler is a good friend and fellow passionate baker. Jeff and Hitzig share the bakery and its equipment here in the beautiful Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia.
Some of the Crazy Baker's® products are:
Granola is wholesome and delicious with nuts and fruits. I bought some at one of the local stores and just love it. I have it every morning over my yogurt…..it is delicious! It is also great on ice cream, and on a salad. Choose from Granola with cranberries (my favorite); or Granola with organic raisins.
PANFORTE - a great dessert that is a flat "cake" made with whole almonds, select spices, and candied citrus. It is really soooo delicious. I served a small wedge with a cup of coffee after dinner to my husband and he thought it tasted somewhat like fruitcake. I purchased one from a local store, and it comes hand-wrapped in beautiful rustic paper, secured with linen twine, and sealed with a red wax seal. I will be giving these as Christmas gifts.
Blondies and Brownies – chocolate, satisfying and a quarter pound each.
Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake – Oh my goodness…this is fantastic. A few weeks ago, we had dinner at the Stardust Café (owned by The Crazy Baker’s® sister) and for dessert, we ordered the sticky toffee pudding cake….it is rich, warm, and decadent. Hitzig says “In England, pudding refers to dessert; in this case, the pudding is a yummy date cake served with an unbelievable hot toffee sauce poured over it.”
Chocolate Almond Torte or Hazelnut Torte with Milk Chocolate Glaze
- flourless Tortes, made with freshly ground nuts and imported dark or milk chocolate. This will be my next purchase.
I’ve mentioned only a few of the products made by The Crazy Baker® and there are many more products, as well as, their special seasonal specialties, such as the traditional Italian bread, Panettone.
The Crazy Baker's® delicious products make wonderful gifts for the holiday season! The Crazy Baker® ships for you with personalized gift cards; just send your list of lucky gift recipients, and The Crazy Baker® does the rest! Your Christmas shopping made easy by The Crazy Baker®.
Toll free 866-440-4797 or 304-497-2799
Check out the Crazy Baker® website – you will want to order at least one of everything! And, remember Christmas shopping is easy at The Crazy Baker® in West Virginia.
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