When my husband, Andrea, and I met in 1997 while traveling in Asia we discovered a shared desire to make a difference in the world of food. Our mutual passion for food and travel, as well as our food-loving Italian heritage, would lead us on a journey of work experiences ranging from private catering, to restaurants, to bakeries. Driven by our vision to produce hearty and wholesome baked goods made from the finest ingredients, we set out to build our first wood-fired mud oven in our inner-city Boston backyard. This was the precursor to a more ambitious endeavor. What began as a simple concept was soon realized as the Village Hearth Bakery, which evolved along these lines: idea, obsession, conviction, reality.
Our drive to bake in this timeless tradition was reinforced with the arrival of our twin daughters in 1999 and our desire to raise a healthy family. Our focus fast became teaching our children every aspect of food, from growing to preparing it, with the imperative of cooking from scratch. Our whole-food ethic, combined with our concern for raising a mindful and healthy family, extended to our community and beyond.
A handmade hearth, built brick by brick, is the soul of the Village Hearth Bakery. We bake all our exquisite old-world European-style breads, pastries, and pizza in our wood-fired brick oven. At the Village Hearth Bakery, we use regional and seasonal ingredients, including home-raised chicken eggs and local produce, to handcraft the freshest baked goods in Rhode Island. It is truly a labor of love to awaken each morning before the sun rises to mix, shape, and twist dough that’s magically transformed by baking into hearty golden loaves and morning pastries, tarts, and other delicious treats—each a unique handmade work of art.
Our affinity for beauty and creativity extends beyond our baked goods to the physical environment of the Village Hearth Bakery. Begun in 2001 as a small artisan bread bakery with a takeout-only retail store, in 2009 we renovated our former house into a seating area and cafe for our customers, which allowed us to expand our menu (the bakery occupies what was once our garage, converted into our workshop). The result is the new Village Hearth Bakery and Café, which flourishes as an elegant, rustic oasis for those seeking good food, great coffee, and a cozy setting. The Village Hearth offers a complete sensory experience. Copper tables and countertops and a warm wood stove glow on cold winter days. In warmer weather, a grapevine and wisteria-covered pergola shade a breezy outdoor deck and courtyard.
Our customers often ask us if we ever thought we’d be this successful. Both Andrea and I owe a lifelong debt of gratitude to my father, Frank Carella, an Italian immigrant who settled in Argentina before coming to the States. Very early on he planted the seeds of optimism in his children. His hard work and sacrifice paved the way for me and my family. The same optimism that allowed my father to achieve his American Dream gave us the strength and courage to achieve ours. By example, my father has enabled Andrea and me, two young people with a vision and a very small budget, to have the audacity to believe that we could realize our vision through hard work.
The Village Hearth Bakery could not have become reality without his loving help and constant support. In addition to my father’s professional contribution as an architect, many will remember him as "pizza thrower" for many years at our bakery. Andrea and I are grateful that my father lived to see our brainchild through fruition (he died in late 2009) and even more grateful that he shared the early years of our children’s lives. Dad provided invaluable guidance, unbridled optimism, and bottomless humor. In every sense of the cliché, this bakery has been and will always be a family-run business. Without my father’s support and encouragement, the Village Hearth Bakery would not have been possible.
Finally, to answer the question about our success, I must simply respond that we never thought it could be any other way, thanks to Frank Carella.
Co-owner, The Village Hearth Bakery and Cafe