By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Treats of the season

Olde Tyme Pastries


Recently named the sweetest bakery in the state, Olde Tyme Pastries provides tasty treats that are sure to please all year round. During the holidays, the longtime Turlock bakery pulls out all the stops, going above and beyond when it comes to the sweets of the season to provide Christmas cheer for all of its customers throughout the 209. 

“Nowadays, people are so busy and rushed during the holidays that they have no time to bake,” Olde Tyme Pastries owner Terri Coonce said. “So, they come here.”

There are countless sweets available only during the holiday season at Olde Tyme Pastries, but which is the most popular?

“All of it,” Coonce said with a laugh. 

It’s true that holiday desserts fly off the shelves at the bakery, but Olde Tyme Pastries’ bestsellers during the most wonderful time of the year include the shop’s peppermint bark, Coonce said, as well as the divinity — a nougat-like confection with a smooth, fudgy texture that constantly brings customers back for more.

“Old school people know what it is. It kind of reminds you of a marshmallow, but it takes a really long time to make,” Coonce said. “It’s just an old-fashioned candy that people love.”

There are so  many other holiday treats at the bakery, it’s

 hard to list them all. There’s almond bark, another popular items, and chocolate covered turtles. Sweet, fresh-baked panettone bread is another staple, as is German stollen bread. All things gingerbread can be found at Olde Tyme Pastries as well, from men to houses.

Other candies crafted at the bakery during the holidays include assorted truffles and fudge, while cookies like pfeffernusse, macarons and decorated sugar cookies are also popular. Baked goods such as fruit cake, cannolis and yule logs are also available, and eggnog mousse gets customers in the holiday spirit year after year. 

“These desserts are part of gathering together with your family,” Coonce said. “It brings people together with comfy, old-fashioned, homey stuff.”

In October, Olde Tyme Pastries was named the Sweetest Full Line Bakery in California as part of Dawn Foods’ annual Sweetest Bakery in America Contest, which calls on dessert lovers far and wide to cast their votes for over 1,000 bakeries across the United States.

The bakery is located at 2225 Geer Rd. in Turlock and is open from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. For more information on their holiday sweets, contact Olde Tyme Pastries at 209-668-0928.

—ANGELINA MARTIN / 209 Magazine

Brown's English Toffee and Celtic Candies


Brown’s English Toffee and Celtic Candies opened in 1985 and since that time has been under the guidance of four different owners and in three different towns, but all the while they have been turning toffee and Celtic candies that have earned them loyal customers around the country.

“There’s not one single state that we don’t send an order to as some point each year,” said current owner Carl McDanel.

Brown’s English Toffee and Celtic Candies was started by Tom and Helen Brown in Oakhurst, using Helen’s grandmother’s toffee recipe. The cottage business took shape and continued through an ownership and location change. The third owner moved the business to Fair Oaks, which is where McDanel and his wife first became acquainted with the toffee. 

“The third owners were good friends of ours and when the husband passed away, we helped his wife with the business through Christmas,” McDanel said. “At the end of the year she asked if we would buy the business.”

The question was posed at an opportune time for the McDanel couple, who had been spending their time sailing around various ports in the Northern Hemisphere.

“It was time for us to make a change,” McDanel said.

The couple moved the business to Fiddletown in Amador County and still use the original recipe, which is on a 3X5 card on the wall.

The gourmet toffee is handmade in small batches using real butter, sugar Guittard’s chocolate and Blue Diamond almonds. They also make batches without nuts. The flavors include vanilla, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate, and for the holiday season the business will be making Peppermint Bark.

In addition to the toffee, the business also makes Celtic candies, which includes different flavors of fudge, treacle and salted caramels.

“There are seven Celtic nations and we have found recipes that represent and are authentic to six of the nations,” McDanel said.

To order the toffee or candies, visit or call (888)-443-4302.

— SABRA STAFFORD / 209 Magazine

Collier’s Confections

Sonora - Jamestown - Coulterville

Collier’s Confections is a fairly recent addition to the area’s candy offerings, but owner Leslie Collier’s experience with making sweet treats goes back several decades.

“I started making candies in the 1980s,” Collier said. “It was kind of like Tupperware parties, where I would go to people’s houses and teach them how to make the candy and sell them the supplies.”

She owned a candy store in the 1990s, but then opted to hang up her apron as her family grew. She started up again as a cottage business working out of her Sonora kitchen after her husband retired.

“It’s been exciting to come back to it,” Collier said. “I’ve decided to go at a slower pace and it has been more enjoyable.”

It’s also turned into a family business once she discovered her brother Roe Lawson had a talent for making homemade marshmallows.

“He does a nice job of getting the flavors just right,” Collier said.

Collier’s Confections offers a full line of sweet treats like turtles and English toffee, but the real specialties are the truffles and the chocolate covered marshmallows. Some of the truffle flavors include chai, Mexican coffee, or the ever-popular chocolate whiskey, while the marshmallows are flavored with mocha, vanilla, lemon, and peppermint, a special for the holidays. They also do custom orders.

“We’re always experimenting with different flavors and changing things up,” Collier said.

Collier’s Confections is sold in three locations — Mother Lode Grown in Sonora; Here’s the Scoop Two in Jamestown; and Village Mercantile in Coulterville. 

Orders can also be placed online at

— SABRA STAFFORD / 209 Magazine

D'lilah's Cakery



Vanessa Bubill’s appreciation for baking began in the kitchen with her grandmother and continued through her culinary education and various bakeries, but it is her alter ego D’lilah that she really has to thank for the success of her budding business.

“When I get here, I am D’lilah,” Bubill said while sitting in her Stockton bakery. “I’ve got energy and I’m ready to go. D’lilah is a lot more outgoing and can pull out an extra burst of energy when I need. When I get home I’m back to Vanessa and can relax.”

D’lilah’s Cakery began out of Bubill’s Manteca home in 2017. She moved into her location at the waterfront warehouse shopping district in Stockton in 2019.

The selection at D’lilah’s Cakery includes cupcakes, cakes jars, truffles, cobblers, strawberry shortcakes and special flavored lemonades, like the blue mermaid. What has really bringing guests back again and again to D’lilah’s Cakery are her use of flavors and the unique twists she puts on some classics.

“I enjoy the experimenting,” Bubill said. “I’ve come up with some really great creations on accident by just playing with it and throwing in something new.”

The store offers alcohol-infused cupcakes for adults like chocolate caramel Hennessey, salted caramel coconut rum, and Kalhua Snickerdoodle.

Bubill also does custom orders cakes and has a talented hand at sugar sculptures.

“Learning to do the sugar sculptures was like heaven for me,” Bubill said. “I like to work with my hands and be creative.”

D’lilah’s Cakery is located at 445 Weber Ave., Ste. 142 in Stockton. For more information or orders call (209) 740-1026 or email

— SABRA STAFFORD / 209 Magazine

Roberts Ferry Nut Company

Roberts Ferry

Situated in the sleepy little town of Roberts Ferry, the Roberts Ferry Nut Company is an ideal stop for one-of-a-kind holiday treats and bountiful gift baskets.

The seasonal favorite Candy Cane White Chocolate Caramel Popcorn, as well as the White Chocolate Cranberry Almond Caramel Popcorn, are both made on site and are only available during the holiday season.

The family owned business also offers build your own gift baskets, which may include Candy Cane and Eggnog almonds, varying caramel corn flavors, as well as specialty nuts and dried fruit.

Roberts Ferry Nut Company is located at 20493 Yosemite Blvd., Waterford. For hours of operation call (209) 874-3247 or visit

— TERESA HAMMOND / 209 Magazine

Biscotti Di Manna


Whether you say it like the Italians with a long o sound or the American version with a short o, Earl and Elida Harris will be happy to sell you their homemade biscotti.

The Woodbridge couple are the proprietors of Biscotti Di Manna and use a recipe from Elida’s Italian roots and passed down through the generations.

“Over 100 years ago my grandparents settled in the Acampo, California area from Italy,” said Elida Manna Harris. “I was fortunate to grow up right next door to one set of Italian grandparents and a mile or so from my other Italian grandparents. Consequently, I was raised with so many wonderful Italian recipes and would watch them as they all would prepare wonderful authentic foods or baked goods. 

“Whether I watched my grandmother or my mother prepare, I was able to practice making Italian biscotti, which was made during the holidays in their homes.”

Elida continued the tradition of making biscotti during the holiday season and giving them to friends and family.

“I only used my mother's original recipe, which was handed down by my grandmother,” Elida said. “The same ingredients have been used in our family all these years.  We have not deviated with ingredients at all.”

Earl enjoyed eating the Italian cookies, but never gave much thought to how they were prepared until moving back to the 209 area and watching his mother-in-law prepare batches of the treats.

“One day my husband, who is not Italian, was watching my mother make them and he sure caught on in a hurry,” Elida said. “A few years ago, when he was not able to work due to a major breathing problem, he decided to start making them here at our Woodbridge home. In the meantime, my fabulous mother had passed away and I know she would have surely wanted us to keep the wonderful family tradition going. We sat down one night and decided, ‘why don't we make them, package them and sell them for a little extra income.’”

It was a fortuitous idea for the couple, who are now in their third year of operating their cottage industry of making and selling biscotti. 

The biscotti from Biscotti Di Manna are more crumbly than crunchy, with the almonds and a hint of anise providing the flavor, making them perfect to dunk in coffee or tea.

“We are so proud of our product and I am so proud of my husband, who is the baker, and I do all the packaging,” Elida said.

For orders call Elida at (209) 333-0801.

— SABRA STAFFORD / 209 Magazine

Mochi Tsuki


For many, four leaf clovers and horseshoes bring good luck. Fortune tastes much sweeter in the Japanese culture, however, thanks to a New Year tradition called Mochi Tsuki.

Livingston United Methodist Church spearheads a movement to recreate the Japanese tradition each December, inviting 209 community members and volunteers to partake in the process of pounding out thousands of rice cakes, or mochi — a process that requires hours of physical labor. Mochi Tsuki means “pounding the mochi,” and the centuries-old tradition is said to bring good luck as communities come together to celebrate the New Year in Japan.

The process begins by soaking roughly 400 pounds of sweet rice for two days, which is then washed and transported to a grinder to help with the pounding process. The rice used to make mochi is unlike ordinary rice, as its grains are much smaller and more glutinous. Next, two people pound the rice as one person rotates it during the process. The rice is then rolled into balls to enjoy, either as plain dumplings or ahn mochi, which is mochi that contains a sugary, sweet substance made out of beans.

The annual Mochi Tsuki ceremony at the Livingston United Methodist Church will be held on Dec. 28. The best time to come watch the pounding of the rice is around 10 a.m. that day.

The church’s New Year mochi is available to order through Dec. 23. The price is $5 a pound for plain mochi and $2 apiece for ahn mochi. Orders can be placed by calling the church from 9 a.m. to noon at 209-394-2264, or order forms can be picked up at the church. Orders will be available for pickup from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. only on Dec. 28 at the church, located at 11695 W. Olive Ave. in Livingston. 

— ANGELINA MARTIN / 209 Magazine


Sutter Creek
When Victoria and Doug Spainhower decided to open a coffee shop in Sutter Creek, they wanted a place that would be at the heart of the Gold Country town and if it happened to serve the needs of those with a sweet tooth, then all the better.

The couple’s endeavor has proven successful as Choc-O-Latte has become a favorite among Sutter Creek residents and visitors alike.

“You can go into any little town in any country for that matter and they have a local coffee shop,” Victoria Spainhower said. “It truly is the heart of a town. People will come every morning to check up on each other, share sorrows, celebrate milestones or just be together. It can be a local event, or something global, we as a community will go through together. We at Choc-O-Latte like to provide that for our community. Sometimes just a hot cup of coffee or a smiling face is the comforting feeling we all need from time to time.”

The coffee shop just celebrated its fourth year in business and Victoria credits it to making guests feel right at home.

“We hear from customers every day that walking into Choc-O-Latte is more like visiting family than going to a business,” Victoria said. 

The store’s tag line is ‘Everything Chocolate,’ so it makes sense that the signature drink, a Choc-O-Latte, would be a chocolate lover’s dream.

“It's our namesake,” Victoria said. It’s a chocolate latte. With two shots of our specialty espresso mixed into a combination dark/white chocolate, topped with beautiful micro foam, with a special chocolate design on top with a cookie on the side.  It’s the whole shop in a cup.”

The Choc-O-Latte is sold year-round. For the holidays the shop will be bringing out some classic creations like Egg Nog lattes, Peppermint mochas, and a few new ones like Santa’s cinnamon latte and holiday heath bar latte.

“It has been a pleasure serving our community and getting to know everyone over a simple cup of coffee,” Victoria said.

Choc-O-Latte is located at 48 Main Street in Sutter Creek. For more information visit

— SABRA STAFFORD / 209 Magazine