Ariella Wolkowicz is the owner of Toasted, a Napa-based producer of handmade bagels. Toasted is at the Napa Farmers Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
What’s the back story of Toasted?
I moved to Napa about six years ago to do pastry, but I burned out on fine dining. I grew up on Montreal bagels, in upstate New York. My mom would ship them to me because I couldn’t find good bagels here. I thought, “Maybe I could sell bagels.” I looked up a recipe and tweaked it until it was what I wanted.
What makes a great bagel?
If it’s not boiled, it’s not a bagel. It needs to have good chew but not be super dense. I like them to be lightly sweet, so I boil them in honey water. And I like them to be covered in seeds. I think they taste better and look prettier.
What do you love most about your work?
Right now, what I like is being able to interact with everybody at the market. It’s great to see people coming back, and it’s a nice way to get more involved in the community.
How does the Napa Farmers Market support your business?
Once you sell there a couple of times, people start to look for you. It’s a good way to build a client base. People can give you direct feedback so you know what’s working and what isn’t. And you get to be outside.
What’s your go-to bagel?
Normally I just do cream cheese, but my favorite combination is a sesame bagel with peanut butter and jelly. It reminds me of being a little kid. Handsome Carver has some great nut butters at the market.
Top three sellers?
Everything bagel, plain and, actually, the cinnamon-raisin has been creeping up there.