There is something about cinnamon: you love it or hate it. But whether you like it or not, it’s impossible to not notice that this spice is present in many desserts, vegan or not. One of the most popular and traditional treats using it are cinnamon rolls. It’s not hard to find the vegan version of this delicious treat in bakeries around the world, especially in the US.
But since 2009 cinnamon rolls have been taken to another level with Cinnaholic, a 100% vegan cinnamon roll shop, located in Berkley, CA. Florian (who has his roots in the punk rock scene in Berlin, Germany) and Shannon (the face of Cinnaholic) met in 2008 and started what would one day become a dream job, offering costumers a “variety of different flavors that are waiting to be explored, all made with the highest quality ingredients to tickle your taste buds”.
Cinnaholic isn’t just a vegan bakery. It is a paradise for fans of cinnamon rolls, offering gourmet treats in a funny and nice environment. We had the chance to talk to Shannon Michele Radke about the shop and its treats:
What’s so special about cinnamon?
Back in the old days cinnamon was considered to be an extravagant gift that was given to kings. Nowadays, it’s been proven that cinnamon has all kinds of uses including healing properties for many health issues. Not only is it useful, it’s an amazing flavor enhancer and tastes AWESOME.
Cinnaholic is the first custom gourmet cinnamon roll business in the US, right? How and when did you have the idea of opening a specialized bakery dedicated to vegan gourmet cinnamon rolls?
We are the ONLY gourmet cinnamon roll shop that allows people to customize their very own cinnamon roll! We opened about 3 years ago in Berkeley, CA after testing out our product at bake sales for about a year.
Do you have an idea of how many customers Cinnaholic receives every day?
We have certain times of the year that are busier than others so our foot traffic varies. Last year we had over 30,000 customers!
What are your bestsellers?
Our best selling roll by far, is our chocolate chip cookie dough roll. It comes with vanilla frosting and our house made cookie dough chucks and chocolate chips.
Cinnaholic just won ‘Best Desserts’ on City Voter’s 2013 Bay Area A-List. How does it feel to receive a reward like this, competing to non-vegan desserts?
We’re always flattered when we’re acknowledged anywhere, but it’s especially rewarding when people who aren’t vegan say good things about our baked goods.
I can see the punk rock style everywhere in Cinnaholic. Where does it come from? What are your biggest musical influences?
Both Florian and I grew up around the punk rock scene so Cinnaholic was sort of a combination of both of our pasts and our passion for the culture and music. Some of our customers have included members from Rise Against, AFI, Rancid, Anti-Flag and many more. It’s always an exciting day in the shop when we get those orders!
Do you ship everywhere in the US? Is the online shopping popular?
We ship to all 50 states and ship out hundreds of orders a year. It’s a great option for people who don’t live near Berkeley and who have a hard time finding good vegan baked goods in remote areas. Anyone in the US can order here.
San Francisco seems to be very vegan-friendly. How would you describe the city regarding this aspect?
The SF Bay Area has insanely good vegan options. You can find anything from Asian to Mexican, southern soul food to Indian, raw to fried on almost any given day. I consider myself really lucky to have so many options available and it’s a lot of fun to be located in the center of it all!
Veganism (as a diet) has become very popular in the last years, getting more and more covered in the mainstream media and after the last meat scandals (mainly in Europe) it’s getting even more attention. How do you see this fact?
It’s unfortunate that things like meat scandals have to happen but in the end, whatever helps brings veganism more into the mainstream public eye, is a good thing. The more people that become aware of what and who are behind the meat industry and decide to take action, the better it is for everyone. The animals, the environment and ourselves.
Can we expect a cookbook with some of your recipes anytime soon?
Unfortunately, our cinnamon roll recipe is TOP SECRET so no Cinnaholic cookbooks any time soon. I am however, working on another vegan project book that I hope to have completed within the next year or so.
(Photos courtesy of Cinnaholic)