REVIEW: Celebrating Black History Month with a sweet tooth

Lush+Popcorn+is+one+of+the+places+A%26E+Reporter+Jolan+Kruse+visited.

Photo by Josh Meitz

Lush Popcorn is one of the places A&E Reporter Jolan Kruse visited.

These past few weeks I’ve been thinking of ways I can show my support for Black History Month, both on a budget and with a craving for sweets. One way to celebrate Black History Month is by supporting local Black-owned bakeries.

MKE Black is an online organization where you can find Black-owned businesses in and around Milwaukee. Their site includes restaurants, shops, music, and much more. They also have an option to donate. Their website says the money will be sent to local Black businesses through “grants, donations, and fundraisers.”

I used this website to find local Black-owned sweet shops like bakeries and other gourmet treats. One of them I found was Bougie Berries on Burleigh Avenue, which is known for its gourmet fruits and cupcakes.

Upon walking in, I was immediately drawn to the giant caramel apples. The shop had a warm, marshmallow sugar smell which matched the pink and white décor nicely. I also noticed their chocolate-covered strawberries, which are also customizable for special occasions. What really looked good was the strawberries which were coated in edible light pink glitter. The fruit looked delicious, but what I was aching to try were the cupcakes.

The two I got were Butterfinger and strawberry cheesecake. The Butterfinger was a yellow cake batter with vanilla whipped topping coated in crushed Butterfinger candy. I thought that one would be my favorite, but when I tried the strawberry cheesecake, I was pleasantly surprised. I tend to stay clear of strawberry-flavored things to avoid the fake syrupy flavor they usually contain, but it was by far the best cupcake I have ever had. It was a strawberry cake batter with cheesecake in the middle and a white whipped topping covered in some sort of strawberry crumble.

With tip, it was about $10 for the two cupcakes, putting it a little on the pricey side, but totally worth it.

I would go back just for those cupcakes. However, I would also love to try the caramel apples and chocolate-covered strawberries!

The owner, Caitlin Russell, was also very friendly. After purchasing my cupcakes, she attached a business card and a sticker that said: “Thank you for supporting my small business.” I’d highly recommend going to this bakery. The friendly atmosphere and sugary aroma make this place worth a visit.

Another Black-owned business I tried was Lush Popcorn, located on West Fond du Lac Avenue. Lush Popcorn is one of many smaller shops in this building, with food and other neighboring businesses. Their menu with sizes and flavors is displayed on the counter where you order. They have two different sized bags of gourmet popcorn available. I ordered the small which was about $8 with a tip.

They had plenty of mouthwatering flavors, such as caramel apple and maple bourbon. I ordered the cookies and cream, which were both divinely unique.  To be fair, I’m used to movie theater popcorn or kettle corn, so this was a luxury. The popcorn had little chunks of Oreos and the whole thing had a light glaze of what tasted like white chocolate, which was delicious. I would recommend trying this place out.

Paparazzi Ice Cream Shop on North Teutonia Avenue is one of few ice cream shops in Milwaukee that has rolled ice cream. They have specific kinds you can order, such as Oreo, or you can build your own. The creamy vanilla smell lingered around the shop, convincing me I needed to order something. They had a colorful menu written on a board on the wall, which added to the playful environment.

“The Selfie” is an option where you combine two toppings to be crushed up with your rolled ice cream and added on top along with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle. I ordered vanilla rolled ice cream with cinnamon toast crunch and Oreo.

You can even watch the ice cream be rolled right in front of you! With tip, it was about $8. They also have round tabled where customers can sit and enjoy their ice cream. I still prefer a classic sundae, but it was still good.

Even if you don’t like sweets, MKE Black has something appealing for anyone. Showing your support for local Black-owned businesses is great year-round, but especially during Black History Month.

This story was written by Jolan Kruse. She can be reached at jolan.kruse@marquette.edu.