Alfajores Cookie Bakery ‘Dulceology’ Opening in Federal Hill

| August 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

Sisters Alejandra and Nicole Leiva are moving their Alfajores cookie business Dulceology from a commercial kitchen in Washington, D.C. to a retail space in Federal Hill. Dulceology will take over 1138 S. Charles St. which was a real estate office in recent years and once a pizza shop.

Alejandra and Nicole Leiva were born in El Salvador, grew up in the Washington, D.C. area after immigrating to the United States, and graduated from Towson University. The Leivas said they had a lot of fond memories of trips to Baltimore growing up and immediately fell in love with Federal Hill after taking a walk through the neighborhood. They described it as “amazing, walkable, and calm.”

Alfajores are a popular cookie in Latin America, especially in Argentina, Chile, and Peru. The shortbread-style cookie sandwiches are filled with a rich dulce de leche filling, and can be dusted with powdered sugar or covered in chocolate. The origin of Alfajores dates back to Northern Africa before the cookies were introduced to Spain and then made their way to Latin America. Alfajor translates to luxury in Arabic.

The Leivas grew up around food as their father manufactured restaurant equipment and their mother was a chef. They came across a recipe from their mother and grandmother for Alfajores and challenged themselves to make them. The immediately fell in love with them and soon started giving them as gifts to friends. They then started selling them on Etsy where they have shipped to every state and Puerto Rico.

Alejandra Leiva is a grad student at George Washington University and the sisters entered the school’s 2019 New Venture Competition and were selected as one of the winners. They received a $20,000 grant and were invited into a business accelerator program.

In the accelerator they learned that customers are looking for places to connect with them. Since, Dulceology was mostly an online business, they knew they needed a storefront in a supportive neighborhood. “We immediately picked out the community and vibe that fits our brand,” said Alejandra Leiva.

In reference to Federal Hill she said, “we couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.”

Many of Dulceology’s returning clients are businesses and real estate agents who were giving the cookies as gifts or bringing them to office parties. The Alfajores can be personalized with logos, and the Leivas noted the cookies are more personal than just giving a bottle of wine. Dulceology uses 3D printing technologies for molding and personalizing the cookies. The sisters have noticed the vibrant business scene in Federal Hill and are looking to connect with as many residents and businesses as possible.

1138 S. Charles St. will not just be a commercial kitchen for Dulceology, it will also be a retail bakery. It will have seating where customers can eat cookies or slices of cakes, including Tres Leches, as well as drink coffees, lattes, and hot chocolates. They will also look to offer savory items like empanadas. Dulceology has its regular Alfajores, as well as a gluten-free version that they said is just as good.

The shop will also be open for private events such as birthday parties, bridal showers, and baby showers. Dulceology is planning to wholesale its baked goods to cafes, restaurants, and stores.

The Leivas will soon begin renovating the space to open up the layout, and to add their baking equipment. They are talking to local artists about murals for the interior.

Dulceology will be open every day but Sunday. They are still figuring out the hours that will best fit the needs of the community, but it will likely open at 8am most days. The Leivas are also planning on having a Sunday brunch menu, and offering baking and decorating classes.

Photos courtesy of Dulceology

Alejandra and Nicole Leiva

 

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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