“Over the years, members of our family dreamed of opening a restaurant or a bakery, but I was the first with the means to do it,” said Booher.
The businesswoman, who operates the bakery with her mother Melissa Smith of Enola, said she gains much of her entrepreneurial inspiration from her Italian grandparents who sold vegetables and fruit at a market in Sicily and also crafted their own wine.
“Their lives were marked with a lot of oppression, which is why they came to America,” said Booher.
Today, a picture of Phillip and Giuseppina Trapani is prominently displayed on the top of the bakery case as a reminder of the couple’s indomitable spirit.
Booher also credits her background in restaurant management and human relations for giving her the confidence to run her own bakery.
“My mom and I decided to fulfill our desires and take the leap,” she said.
The shop opens early, and many customers pop in before work to grab sweet treats for the office. Harrisburg resident Donna Hillenbrand describes purchasing a few items for Teacher Appreciation Week.
“I gave them each an assorted box of goodies, and I think that was their favorite gift of the week,” she said.
Some of the bakery’s more popular items include sticky buns and cupcakes, according to Booher.
“We create unique flavor combinations like root beer float and candy bar cupcakes like Snickers and Almond Joy,” said Booher, adding that the price is an added draw at $2 apiece, with kid-sized cupcakes priced reasonably at $1.
Customer Tiffany Conroy of Enola describes the cupcakes as “not only pretty, but delicious as well.” “They are moist and huge,” she said, adding that she also appreciates the option to choose the smaller size.
For the scone aficionado, Bella Torta offers four flavors: apple/cinnamon, blueberry, orange/cranberry and white chocolate raspberry.
Fans of tiramisu, a coffee-soaked, ladyfinger-layered dessert, will be glad to learn that the bakery features the tried-and-true traditional flavor, along with others like salted caramel and toasted almond.
Cookie monsters will delight in selections like shortbread, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, double chocolate, white chocolate cranberry and decorated sugar cookies.
Anne McHugh of Lemoyne ordered two dozen “patriotic crustacean” cookies for a 4th of July event. “People thought they were too cute to eat, but, when they tried them, they said they were the best,” she said.
Of all the cookies offered at Bella Torta, the conventional chocolate chip is the one that flies off the shelf the fastest.
“We’ve developed a following,” said Booher, attributing the popularity to quality ingredients. “We try to use the very best, and it definitely has an impact on the final product.”
Pies run the gamut, as well, from hand-held pocket pies with flavors like blueberry and apple to traditional pies like blueberry, peach and cherry to cream pies like Smith’s special coconut pie.
“You’ll bite into it and say, whoa, that’s coconut, all right. It’s very strong,” said Smith.
Cakes are also in rotation and include selections like cappuccino, Italian rum and flourless chocolate, or custom-made creations for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions.
Brandi Weiss of Elizabethville has been frequenting the business since its inception.
“I have ordered numerous items like cookie trays, cupcakes, pies, doughnuts and mini-pastries and have loved them all,” she said. “My daughter’s birthday cake was a standout with raspberry filling and a zebra design. They did amazing cupcakes with a ‘50s theme for my mom’s 60th birthday several weeks ago, and everyone raved about them.
To boot: the prices are extremely reasonable, and the friendliness of the staff is an added plus, Weiss added.
Customers can pair their selections with tea, hot or bottled, or a hearty cup of Gevalia coffee.
“We also offer authentic iced coffee,” said Booher, describing the process as “adding coffee grounds to ice water and allowing them to steep overnight, before straining them out with a filter.” Booher said the result is a very strong coffee that can be combined with milk and the customer’s choice of syrup, like almond mocha, caramel or cheesecake.
Several tables are provided for those who prefer to linger a bit and Wi-Fi is also available for customer convenience.
Booher said she’s glad she finally decided to take the plunge.
“We have regulars and know exactly what they’re going to order since it’s a routine for them,” she said. “My favorite part about opening the bakery is getting to know the community. I genuinely care about other people and enjoy providing them with a really great product.”
Bella Torta Bakery is located at 324 Market St. (across from Wray’s Music House) in Lemoyne. Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. To learn more, visit www.bellatortabakery.net.