It's the time when we look back on some of the best moments of 2019 and we definitely need to share Petal, Flower and Hope's favourite discovery of the year! Yep... no surprises for guessing it's the Cheddar Paws Bakery - a bakery just for your hounds, in the awesome surroundings of Cheddar Gorge. With a counter full of cupcakes, doughnuts and treats that are guaranteed to get your dog woofing with delight, it's a firm favourite with our three (and me, as you can see!).
We caught up with owners Michelle and Paul, to ask them four questions we thought you (and your canine companions) would love to know the answers to and to find out more about what made them decide to create this unique bakery, right here in Somerset.
1. Can you tell us a bit about the awesome idea behind Cheddar Paws Bakery and why you decided to start it?
Like most people, when we first saw a doggy cupcake we got very excited - and of course bought one for our dogs, Huntley and Darwin. They’re good boys and they deserve a treat!
When we started looking deeper into the ingredients however, we realised the cake contained a lot of food we weren’t happy giving our dogs. Some ingredients were unhealthy (wheat and sugar), and some could be dangerous (baking powder). The fact the cake was in date for months didn’t sit well with us either. We wanted to keep our boys as healthy as possible, so we ended up not giving them the cake and we were a bit sad about that!
Determined to make sure our boys didn’t miss out, we began to research dog nutrition. We eventually came up with some great recipes that we know are packed full of goodness and no nasties. Our boys loved them!
A year or so later, we came to Cheddar on holiday and were bowled over by how dog friendly it was. Dogs can go in all the attractions and most places to eat were dog friendly too. We ended up joking that Cheddar would be the perfect place to open a bakery just for dogs and start selling our pupcakes. As we chatted about it, the idea started to sound less crazy. If we love our dogs this much, others must do too.
We’re so happy we trusted our feelings and opened Cheddar Paws Bakery. We run it as a family, with our three children, and Huntley and Darwin enjoy being at the centre of everything we do (and having daily treats). It’s their paw prints in our logo, which you could say is also their seal of approval!
2. What has the reaction been like from doggy visitors (and their people!) and what are some of your most popular treats in the bakery?
Dogs all seem to come into the bakery looking excited and pull to come in, sometimes long before their owners have noticed what we are! Somehow, dogs know the bakery is for them and we can’t figure out exactly how.
Our favourite thing is to see dogs of all shapes and sizes with little excited looks on their faces. We’re often told by regulars that dogs get excited as soon as they realise their owners are pulling into the car park, which is the biggest complement we could ever ask for.
The reactions from people have also been extremely positive. They range from surprise to amazement, but most importantly the bakery seems to put a smile on everyone’s face. Seeing a dog eating a pupcake is sure to make you feel uplifted! As everyone who visits the bakery is brought together by their love of dogs, it’s also heart-warming to see dogs and people make new friends.
Our best-selling treats are our pupcakes and organic bone biscuits. Our pupcakes look quite a bit like human cakes, but contain no ingredients a human cake would. People really do care as much about what their dogs eat as we do about our own boys’ diet and when people see that our pupcakes are made from things like sweet potato and flaxseed (not wheat and sugar), their reactions are always positive.
3. Can you share some of your favourite moments in the bakery so far?
Doggy birthday parties have given us some fantastic memories. We love it when there are lots of dogs in the bakery, chowing down on some doggy birthday cake and having a play and some fuss! Birthday pups really feel the love and it's so rewarding for us to be part of that.
At one of our favourite birthday parties, Nova the Great Dane enjoyed her slice of cake so much that when we went to box the remaining cake up for her, she tried to break into our Canine kitchen to get more. She nearly managed it too! It always makes us laugh to remember it.
Another lovely memory from our Mother’s Day event was when Honey, a beautiful rescue who comes into the bakery regularly, was enjoying her puppachino from a vintage tea cup. She was lapping it in a very ladylike manner and it made our hearts melt.
Our eldest daughter, Eve, says one of her favourite moments was when several people from a nearby Schnauzer walk came into the bakery for tea and cake. She loved how the entire bakery was full of gorgeous schnauzers (and their owners) who have since proven to be some of our most loyal regulars.
4. Tell us a secret about Cheddar Paws that no-one else knows! :)
Paul samples a bit from each new batch to make sure they are just right. We only realised he was doing this when we noticed coconut icing in his beard one day. Our cakes are not designed for human palettes, but he knows what flavours should be in there and wants to check that every batch is perfect for the dogs!
We just love that secret and will now make sure we look out for any stray icing in the beard! ;)
Another of the year's highlights for us, was when the guys kindly gifted us a 'Party for your Puppers' to give away when we were raising funds for Somerset and Dorset Animal Rescue and Lurcher SOS on our 24-hour radio 'coolathon'. The winner of the bakery celebration was two gorgeous rescue doggies who had a 'becoming sisters' party, when Bestie (on the left) joined the family! Their human, Zoe Cox, took this awesome photo of their special event :).
And finally, our hounds just want to give a big shout out to the bakery for the good times they've had there in 2019. It's such a brilliant idea and we all can't wait to go back in 2020.