By Kelly Gibbs | email@example.com
Photos by Kelly Gibbs
Nestled alongside Cathedral Place is the European Cake House, the newest edition to St. Augustine’s pastry scene.
Owner Ilona (aka Celia) Turtoczki’s shop includes desert inspiration from all over, featuring Napoleon, red velvet cake, cannoli and her self-proclaimed favorite: tiramisu
An interesting facet of the pastry shop is that many of its desserts fit into a vegetarian and vegan diet.
Turtoczki says that about 30 percent of her clientele are vegan or some form of vegetarian and she likes to respect their values by providing delicious treats that they too can enjoy. She explained that just because it may not have egg or dairy in it doesn’t mean it can’t be a surprisingly creamy dish. Some of her desserts, like the chocolate pudding cake are gluten-free.
The shop is quaint, seating about 15 comfortably, and it has a warm and welcoming ambiance. The atmosphere, Turtoczki said, is meant to beckon couples with the dim lighting.
Her shop always has a selection of acoustic music playing and it stays open until 10:00 p.m. most nights (later than many places around St. Augustine.)
She described that she sees a wide variety of nationalities stop through her shop.
“I get people from all over the world in here and I like to talk to them and hear their story…I’ve been in the business for a long time,” said Turtoczki, a native of Hungary who studied both there and in Munich under world-renowned pastry chefs. She has been in the pastry “bizz” for over 25 years.
“I love the location, it’s in the middle of everything…I would love to expand some day,” said Turtoczki, motioning towards the big window in the front of the shop, which overlooks the Plaza. Her plans to expand would include having an upstairs area and a more extensive menu that includes sandwiches and lunch items.
“I like how things are going for now…life is good,” she said.
The European Cake House is open Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The shop is located at 62B Spanish Street.