Growing up in two traditional Italian families, food and family were always an outlet to show love towards one another. As Brittany Meloche and Bethany Bauer grew older, it became a family tradition to learn the ways of making wholesome Italian dishes that have been passed down for generations. Brittany explained that it’s not just following a recipe, but that “It’s more about watching and being told how to do it. Word of mouth is super big within our family, so whenever we are making ravioli dough or spaghetti, you have to be there to watch and to learn, so you then can take on making that dish for your parents.” For Bethany, food in her family is a love language. “Being in an Italian American household food is everything. Food is a relationship. Food is a love language. In general, food was how you showed how you cared for someone. You would cook these amazing dishes from scratch to show your love for someone.” For Bethany and Brittany, making cannoli goes far beyond following a recipe, but by making each individual cannoli with love and care.
A staple in Sicilian cuisine, Cannoli are Italian pastries consisting of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy ricotta filling. As I reviewed their menu, Brittany explained that they have various cannoli flavors such as, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Strawberry, Pistachio, Cookie Dough, Construction, and a seasonal flavor. However, there is only one true way to make a cannoli. “A traditional cannoli consists of the shell, the creamy ricotta filling, and candied orange pieces for the topping”. Delicious!
After reviewing more items on their menu, The Only Cannoli offers a variety of homemade desserts. Brittany mentioned that their most popular desserts are the Italian Cheesecake, Lemon Mascarpone, and their Traditional Cannoli. Of course, I had to purchase all three of these amazing desserts, and a slice of their Tiramisu.
The Italian Cheesecake was creamy, and was complimented with a hint of almond. The Lemon Mascarpone cake consists of layers of a light lemon cake and creamy mascarpone. It was so light and flavorful! The traditional cannoli with the creamy ricotta and candied orange slices was heavenly. The candied orange slices were not too sweet or chewy, so it did not over power the taste and texture of the cannoli.
In June of 2018, The Only Cannoli received their LLC and started operating out of Kitchen 242, and the Muskegon Farmers Market as a vendor. Eventually, Bethany and Brittany landed their own Only Cannoli shop on Lakeshore Drive. Little did they know, this move would help them grow as successful business owners. Brittany explained, “We were just super thankful to actually have a business. We really experienced a lot of things that forced us to do things that we probably thought we would never have to do. We started doing financials, making business plans, applying for loans, etc. So, in a way, moving into that space helped us graduate in ways we wouldn’t have had to do, if we would have stayed at Kitchen 242. That was a huge step for us in growth. There were a lot of lessons learned, and pushed us in the right direction for something new”.
Earlier this year, The Only Cannoli moved to their new location on 3rd street in Muskegon. The number one reason was space. Brittany and Bethany had new ideas and new concepts that they wanted to explore. Expanding their menu, taking on more catering, and creating more of an ideal space for their customers to enjoy a cannoli and coffee.
Bethany and Brittany have big dreams for The Only Cannoli, and it doesn’t look like they are slowing down anytime soon. Brittany discussed their desire to expand to two additional locations, provide wholesale to other areas in Michigan, and to provide shipping options to those who want to experience The Only Cannoli.
If you’re looking to learn more about The Only Cannoli, check them out on social media. They have been killing the social media game with hilarious videos on Tik Tok, Instagram, and Facebook. I had a chance to speak with Bethany, who manages The Only Cannoli social media pages. “We enjoy Tik Tok, and for me, on a personal level, it is a nice escape from what you see originally see on your other social media pages. So, we have fun being fun and silly!” Customers want to identify and relate to that business. Highlighting real people and not just a product. “There is a hustle side, but there is that personality side of us that others may not get to see, so social media helps with that”.