Bicycling baker gears up for spring

As the warmer weather approaches, cookie connoisseur Diana Manuel is excited to be able to ride her red bicycle full time to deliver baked goods.

By Ashley Corbett

(Ashley Corbett Peninsula News)
(Ashley Corbett Peninsula News)

As the warmer weather is approaching, cookie connoisseur Diana Manuel is excited to be able to ride her red bicycle full time to deliver baked goods.

Manuel runs her business out of her home kitchen, where she bakes small batches of cookies that are ordered by customers online. Deliveries are then made by bicycle (weather permitting).

She will also be a proud vendor at the Halifax Crafter’s Society Spring Market this weekend.

The birth of Cookie Cravings

Manuel, 26, created her company, Cookie Cravings, in 2012, but only started running it full time in November. She had always loved baking and learned her skills throughout her childhood from her mom. Bicycles were something she got into later in life.

After graduating with a degree in psychology, Manuel realized she was not sure she wanted to pursue her field of study after all.

“I think a lot of people in university are somewhat confused about what they want to be doing,” says Manuel. “So I started thinking saying, ‘okay, what do I love? And what do I find myself doing the most in my spare time?’”

And so, the idea for her business fell into place.

Equipped with a bell, leather seat and a cherry red coat of paint, Manuel has found the bicycle of her dreams. Though a few days of snowy conditions forced her to resort to other modes of transportation, she has used her bike to make deliveries throughout most of the winter.

She definitely prefers her trusty bicycle to other methods.

“Biking is a lot more fun, and I find it relaxing. Also if I have deliveries downtown it’s a pain to try to find parking,” Manuel says. “It’s also been a good way to get outside in the winter.”

Manuel with bicycle inside her home

Sticking close to home

Manuel strives to use local ingredients in her cookies as much as possible. Some of her locally sourced ingredients include butter and dark chocolate from Cow’s Creamery in Prince Edward Island, and oats from Speerville Flour Mill in New Brunswick.

Looking around her kitchen, colourful paint and dishware strike your senses. Manuel wears a red and white-checkered apron tied around her waist. Her glass jars of flour, sugar and other baking ingredients are lined up in a row.

Manuel in her kitchen (Ashley Corbett Peninsula News)
Manuel in her kitchen (Ashley Corbett Peninsula News)

In front of the jars sit four brown bags neatly packaged, tied with green twine and decorated with a bicycle stamp. The packages will be delivered to cookie customers that day.

“I think cookies make people happy, so everyone who orders from me and who I deliver to are really sweet,” says Manuel as her eyes light up.

“No one is grumpy when they’re getting cookies,” she says with a smile.

Springing into action

Currently, Manuel is gearing up for her booth at the Halifax Crafter’s Society Spring Show this weekend. The Halifax Crafter’s Society is a not-for-profit organization that’s been around since 2005.

Alissa Kloet, one of the volunteer organizers for the event, is passionate about helping local crafters like Manuel get their work out to the public.

“This is making a difference. This is giving people the stepping stones that they need in their businesses and in their professional endeavours,” she says.

Kloet says the spring show will have about 70-80 vendors.

Manuel is excited to be one of the vendors participating as she hasn’t been involved with the crafting society before. She’ll be selling mini egg cookies, one of her favorite treats right now, as well as her sandwich cookies and many other types.

The crafter’s show will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the Olympic Community Centre.