Make us your home page
The Quest: tbt* seeks out unique flavors, sensations and products in Tampa Bay

Stressed from holiday baking? Just order dessert

We're in the heat of the holiday season, so we know you're going to be putting in overtime in your kitchen for the next few weeks.

But if you're looking to ease up your workload, we suggest you order dessert. We found some great Tampa Bay bakeries whipping up delicious cakes, pies and candy confections that'll make you wonder why you ever fussed with dessert in the first place.

Toffee To Go in Tampa was just named one of Oprah's Favorite Things in the December issue of O Magazine. Lisa and Jim Schalk are taking the adage "quality, not quantity" to heart, offering three different toffee flavors. But you don't need any more choices when the toffee's this good.

"Right now we're making over 900 pounds a day, sometimes up to 1,000," said Jim Schalk. "We just use pretty much butter and sugar, and we've got a few other special ingredients, but mostly butter and sugar."

Lisa Schalk offered two tips for customers: "Order online," she said. And "don't worry about our store hours. If the light's on, knock on the door or call us, we're here."

Wright's Gourmet House in Tampa is known for its cakes, monster sandwiches and pecan pie. Its flaky crust and sweet, custardy filling is among the best around. They even ship their cakes and baked goods all across the country, so if you're looking for a way to impress your family with a Tampa Bay delicacy, this is a great way to do it.

The Pie Factory in Largo sells thousands of pies around the holidays, particularly fruit ones like apple and cherry. The storefront and cafe also has a reputation for tasty flavors like peanut butter swirl, key lime and pumpkin.

And while few Floridians need to be reminded about Village Inn (the Dow Sherwood Corp. opened the first Village Inn in Tampa more than 50 years ago), consider stopping in there to grab one of their award-winning apple, strawberry rhubarb or coconut cream pies. You can order them from the website, or stop into one of a handful of Tampa Bay locations to get yours topped with fresh whipped cream.

— To check out a video of Michelle and Katie's quest for great holiday desserts in Tampa Bay, see

The Pie Factory

12777 Walsingham Road, Largo. (727) 593-1884,

Toffee To Go

3251 W Bay to Bay Blvd., Tampa. (813) 831-6247,

Village Inn

Locations across Tampa Bay; see

Wright's Gourmet House

1200 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 253-3838,

Stressed from holiday baking? Just order dessert 12/05/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 5, 2013 11:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 28


    Alabama: The country music all-timers hit the road for the Southern Drawl tour with openers, the Charlie Daniels Band. 7 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $26-$86. (813) 301-2500.

    Handout photo of Alabama, performing 5/28/17 at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Credit: Alan Messer
  3. Find serenity at Grand Cayman Island's Cemetery Beach



    Hey, cruisers, if you've been to Hell and back, snuggled with the stingrays and taken photos with the turtles at the Cayman Turtle Centre, you might be looking for something different on your next trip. (Guilty!)

    Good snorkeling can be found off shore at Cemetery Beach in Grand Cayman.
  4. Karen Bail, who helped Gibbs kids get to Broadway, retires


    ST. PETERSBURG — When neatnicks retire, they leave no trace behind. Their desks are clean, like a runway after the plane has taken off.

    Karen Bail warms up seniors Jonathan O’Brien, left, as Juan Peron and Addam Setzer as Che Guevara before the dress rehearsal of Evita in April.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 27


    Tampa Bay Margarita Festival: The Barenaked Ladies will headline this festival with opener Cowboy Mouth. Enjoy more than 50 varieties of margarita drinks including a Sriracha strawberry, a bacon rita and even a jalapeno Cabo rita. There's beer and vodka for the non-tequila drinkers. Noon, Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N …