Recently I was invited to try out the new menu rollout from Big View Bakery (BVB) located inside of the Big View Diner in Ballantyne. I showed up at 10:00 AM on a Saturday and was ushered inside where I witnessed all of the happy breakfast attendees at Big View Diner. Unfortunately there would be no breakfast for me on this day, and I remained focused on the sweet treats that were in my imminent future.
BVB’s pastry chefs, Hannah and Emily, greeted me with huge smiles and welcomed me with open arms. Hannah has been leading the charge with BVB since January of 2016. She was with 5Church prior to coming to BVB and worked in Vail, CO, before that. She came to BVB because she found the atmosphere to be relaxed, family-oriented, and built great relationships with everyone very quickly.
Hannah is joined at BVB by Emily who serves as the head pastry chef. Emily is an Eastern PA native and a graduate of Johnson & Wales. They both recognize that the BVB team is grateful for their local following in Ballantyne but also want to make their offering accessible to all of Charlotte.
The duo went on to emphasize the creative freedom that they have and showed a lot of pride in encouraging all of the crew members to pitch in with the menu selection process. For instance, one of the team members came up with the blueberry cheesecake donut that was featured to celebrate the fourth of July and another team member conceptualized the glazed peach fritter that will be coming out during the summer of 2016. They both mentioned that this sort of creativity was one of the best parts of their jobs and their passion was evident.
Now back to the main event…the tasting of all of those goodies! Hannah and Emily escorted me to the prep area where “all the magic happens” where I immediately witnessed four overflowing milkshakes and three delectable sundaes. First up, were the four milkshakes that were presented to me in order: Peanut Butter, Birthday Cake, Black Raspberry, and Peaches n’ Cream.
The first shake that I was able to try was the Peanut Butter Milkshake which features vanilla ice cream, peanut butter sauce, whipped cream, and is topped with peanut butter chips. This shake has more of a whipped consistency and I would liken its taste to a peanut butter pie. According to Hannah, “If you love peanut butter, you will love this shake.” Lucky for me, I absolutely love peanut butter, and if you do as well, then this is a “can’t miss” treat!
Next up was the Birthday Cake Milkshake which boasted homemade “cake batter” ice cream, vanilla cake scraps, whipped cream, and birthday cake clusters. I really enjoyed the cake pieces in the milkshake as they added texture and subtle bursts of flavor. It’s important to note that the BVB team makes the cake batter ice cream in-house by literally adding cake mix into the vanilla ice cream. The vanilla cake scraps present in the shake come from cutting the tops of the display case cakes off and adding them to the ice cream. I appreciate that they don’t let any of their goodness go to waste and, overall, the milkshake was absolutely delicious.
Next up was the Black Raspberry Milkshake that features mixed berry sorbet, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and raspberry sauce. Let’s start with the mixed berry sorbet that consists of pureed blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries that have all been freshly picked. The moment that your lips hit the straw, the aroma consumes your sense and you can tell just how fresh all of the produce is.
The homemade sorbet is then blended with vanilla ice cream. Hannah mentioned that this was her favorite shake because it reminded her of home in northern Virginia where fresh berries grow abundantly in the countryside. This is a great summer complement as it is refreshing without being too heavy or leaving you to feel full. The gals told me they almost left this item off of the menu because they wanted to keep the banana pudding milkshake but they went against their initial thought and decided that they wanted to completely revamp the menu for summer. Thank goodness that they included this extravagant shake for the summer!
Finally, I was able to try the Peaches ‘n Cream Milkshake which features vanilla ice cream, peach jam, and crisp topping. This new addition is Emily’s favorite and it became mine as well. Perhaps her passion in describing the concoction did me in as my first bite made me feel like I had ascended into “fruit Heaven” (side note: not sure if such a place exists but, if so, sign me up).
The peach jam is prepared in-house and, again, the cleanness and freshness of the fruit was the star of the show in this shake. The overall milkshake wasn’t overly sweet and had a subtle yet complementary spice from the crumble mixture. The crisp topping crumble is made from brown sugar, oatmeal, and butter and the delightful crunchy texture finished this dessert off elegantly.
If I could borrow from Guy Fieri’s common descriptors, “The sweet just complements the smooth, and it all comes together with the crunch.” In all seriousness, I can’t recommend these milkshakes enough and the Big View Bakery team knocked it out of the park. If you’re in the Ballantyne area then you owe it to yourself to check them out because of their milkshakes alone.
Now that I had sampled all of the shakes, it was sundae time! I had no idea how I was going to make it through all of this food and the thought of the cardio that I would have to put in was somewhat unsettling (but was so worth it at the same time). Note to self: Big View Bakery is always worth the extra cardio.
The sundae lineup started off with the Dusty Road Sundae which features vanilla ice cream, malted milk powder, chopped whoppers candy, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream. Emily shared with me that she created this masterpiece to pay homage to her home in eastern Pennsylvania. According to Emily, “Eastern PA is home of the Whopper…and if you love Whoppers, then you will love this sundae.” Confession – I’m not a huge malted milk fan but I can say unequivocally that I loved this sundae.
Next up was the Fruit Loop Sundae which featured fruit loop and vanilla ice cream, fruit loop crumbles, strawberries, and whipped cream. It’s every childhood dream fulfilled – the taste of the milk that’s leftover from a big bowl of Fruit Loops. I must say that I found this nostalgic memory best served in ice cream form. There was a lot of fruit flavor in this sundae and the scrumptious Fruit Loop crumble on top took the dessert to a whole ‘nother level. I’m pretty sure you could get away with eating a big bowl of “Fruit Loop sundae” for breakfast.
Finally, I had the Butterscotch Sundae which featured vanilla ice cream topped with oatmeal butterscotch cookie, butterscotch sauce, and pretzel crunch. If you go here with friends, don’t offer them a bite or they might try to take it from you. The word that I would use to describe this dessert is: intense (in a good way). The pretzel crunch adds that little extra saltiness which complements the creaminess of the ice cream. This was my favorite sundae of the three. Besides, who doesn’t love a freshly baked cookie added to their ice cream?
I think the parting gift is what truly exemplifies what kind of people the folks at BVB are. I was sent home with some additional love in the form of three HUGE, delicious and much appreciated donuts.
Pictured below are the fruity pebble, the blueberry cheesecake, and the cookie monster (which features a cookie butter glaze, crushed chocolate chip cookies, and a chocolate glaze). These folks truly love what they do, are committed to their craft, and are absolutely worth meeting whenever you’re in the Ballantyne area!
One final note- Big View Bakery offers a monthly baking class for up to 25 guests and lots of other special events. Make sure to check out their events page for more details!