Critics just like 'Heaven'

The past six months have been especially good to Wilton’s Heavenly Bites bakery, which is owned by Joy Gifford and Mary O’Brien. They’ve gotten on the shelves of five Fairfield County Whole Foods markets, and now count 16 grocery stores as customers.

They’ve begun supplying restaurants and caterers as far away as Vermont, and even created their first Heavenly Bites wedding cake.

And now, however unsurprisingly, the bakers have earned their second major award of the past year as the only Connecticut company to earn a spot in Yankee Magazine’s annual food awards. Heavenly Bites won a Connecticut Specialty Food Award earlier this year.

“We were shocked to be the only Connecticut company to win,” Ms. Gifford said of the competition, which does not assign first or second place for awards.

“We said to ourselves, I guess we really do make a great product.”

Heavenly Bites are created by crumbling cake, blending it with icing, balling it up, and dipping it into a hard chocolate shell. They end up being small, ball-shaped treats just a bit bigger than chocolate truffles. They can be enjoyed cold, as they are sold and shipped frozen, or at room temperature.

Both Ms. Gifford, a marketing specialist, and Ms. O’Brien, a trained pastry chef, have taken on the Heavenly Bites business as a full-time venture and are pushing to diversify and expand their distribution efforts.

Though the bites are used in various ways — as wedding favors, corporate gifts, or even place card holders — they’ve decided to keep with their “core” recipes.

“Right now we’re sticking with our core, classic flavors like your mom used to make,” Ms. Gifford said. “But we’re doing a lot of diversification. We do weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and we have a big corporate gift program. We can handle multiple ship orders and we ship frozen nationwide.”

The secret to Heavenly Bites’ success is twofold: the brand’s dedication to all-natural, unpreserved, premium ingredients, and its extended frozen shelf life of six months.

Of the award, Ms. Gifford said she believed the judges appreciated the refined flexibility of the company’s cake bites.

“They’re unique, and they feel ‘more adult’ than other desserts,” she said. “People really like the packaging … and they’re the perfect hostess gift or teacher gift, or you can just defrost and serve them, because you never know when someone might stop by.”

Information: heavenlybites.com.