I love cake so much I could eat it at every meal. I blame my grandmother’s bakery for introducing me to the delicious world of sweets. I was taught that baked goods aren’t bad for you, they solve problems.Having a bad day? Eat cookies. Sad? Bake a cake or pie and the smell alone will dry up those tears. In honor of all things sweet, I’m thrilled this week to introduce Val’s Gourmet Baked Goods located in the heart of downtown Washington, NC at 150 W. Main St in the Arts Cafe at the interior of the historic Turnage Theatre.
Husband and wife team Valerie “Val” and Arthur Jackson have been baking and serving sweet and savory treats in North Carolina for five years. Hailing from the Washington, DC area, they each have over 40 years of baking experience. A job transfer brought them to Greenville five years ago.
One weekend they took a drive to see Washington and said it “got them hooked.” They loved that the 27 mile ride was too less than 30 minutes. They love the charm of the city, and Val decided to sell red velvet cakes at the Washington Farmer’s Market. They were so successful that they began selling items at the Leroy James Farmer’s Market in Greenville. They returned to the Washington Farmer’s Market and stayed there until two years ago, when the opportunity to rent space at the Turnage Theater opened up. It was only two doors down from the Farmer’s Market. The decision has served them well ever since.
Val’s Gourmet Baked Goods is known for its wedding cakes, specialty and classic cakes in a variety of flavors, cheesecakes, lattice fruit pies, pecan pie, banana pudding and pie lime. They have savory pies ranging from quiche to tomato pies, as well as cinnamon rolls, sweet breads like blueberry, banana and strawberry cream cheese. They also make bread pudding, muffins, turnovers and sell North Carolina food products from assorted jellies, Bertie County and Two Rivers peanuts, gourmet a’larita salsa, local honey, tea and of spices. They even marinated southern-style veggies like corn relish, Cajun candy with candied jalapeno with onion pickles, pickled okra, and tomatillo salsa verde.
They also provide all snacks for patrons enjoying events at the Turnage Theater.
Val’s original artwork is also for sale. Her artistry is evident in her beautifully decorated wedding and special event cakes and the meticulous decorating of their classic cakes.
The cakes on display aren’t cupcakes – they’re what I would call “Big Boy” cakes with multiple layers, height, and drama. The display case contains Oreo, red velvet, pineapple coconut, orange dreamicle, carrot, s’mores and peanut butter and jelly cake.
I went straight for a single serve sweet pecan pie. This Southern-inspired pie features a buttery crust, a soft, gooey sweet center, and is topped with chopped pecans, then baked until golden brown. They also use local pecans when in season. My favorite part is the center which tastes like brown sugar and summer in one bite.
Next I tried a tomato pie made with roasted tomatoes, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, basil, garlic and seasonings. It’s a perfect pie for a summer garden party, a fall holiday feast, or a treat for vegetarians. Start with the buttery crust and toss it with sharp cheddar cheese, chewy tomatoes that get a sweet kick when roasted. Then you get sweet basil and creamy mayonnaise. If someone is sick, forget the soup and buy them this warming savory pie. It’s a crowd favorite.
Tried two of the cheesecakes. Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake starts with a moist mile-high lemon blueberry cheesecake on top and bottom with a generous layer of scrumptious cheesecake sandwiched in the middle. The entire cake has homemade cream cheese frosting and tangy, tangy homemade lemon curd on top. It was all sorts of heavenly, dreamy stuff and the lemon curd gives your cheeks that satisfying crease.
What better way to end than with chocolate on chocolate on chocolate? I had the double chocolate cheesecake. Start with a moist, mile-high dark chocolate cake on top and bottom with a generous layer of moist, creamy chocolate cheesecake sandwiched in the middle. The cake is covered with homemade chocolate frosting. The first bite was an explosion of chocolate, creamy from the cheesecake, decadent from the cake and tantalizing from the icing. In my opinion, you can never have enough chocolate and this cake was divine from the first bite to the last.
At Val’s, you can grab a slice of cake or a treat anytime you want to bring joy to a friend’s birthday or grab a full cake for a family dinner, retirement party, or any occasion in between. both. And don’t forget rehearsal dinners and weddings. Val and Arthur look forward to meeting their clients. and many days can be found outside waving. They’ve perfected the bakery game and they make everyone feel like family. Be sure to drop by and see how amazing their food is for yourself.
They are open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, follow them on Facebook or to place an order, call 402-0582 or 833-9214.