Yesterday Huntington, today the world.
Until last evening, the frenagel, a croissant-and-bagel mash-up with a flavor and texture all its own, could be found in only one spot on earth — Long Island’s Fiorello Dolce bakery. That all changed, however, when Gerard Fioravanti, the shop’s owner and head baker, won Sunday night’s installment of “Bake You Rich,” a new Food Network series. Each episode of the show features four bakers vying for the top prize -- mass production of a signature product (in this case frenagels) that is then sold online nationwide.
After three nail-biting rounds, Fioravanti emerged victorious, whereupon Buddy Valastro, the “Bake You Rich” host, directed viewers to his own website, carlosbakery.com, which redirected them to Goldbelly, whose mission is to “discover America’s most loved regional foods and ship ’em to your door.”
An 18-pack of frenagels, mailed frozen for the consumer to thaw, proof and bake at home, costs $69.95, or a bit less than $4 per frenagel. Shipping is included (but not the butter or cream cheese to shmear it with.) Baked frenagels may also be purchased at Carlo’s Bakery located at the Gallery at Westbury Plaza in Garden City for $3.50 each (cream cheese included).
The night almost ended before it began for Fioravanti after he attempted a hazelnut praline meringue mousse cake in the first-round challenge. The three-tier cake sunk in on itself and was presented to the “Bake You Rich” judges listing dangerously to one side. (“Structurally, my cake is a disaster,” a frustrated Fioravanti admitted on the show. “Oh my God, what the hell happened here?”)
The pastry gods were clearly on his side, however. Not only was his flawed cake delicious, another entry — by contestant Crystal Williams of Norma’s Corner Shoppe in Ridgewood, Queens— featured a lemon cookie cake composed of aromatic-flavored ricotta that tasted like potpourri. “Those flavors did you in,” said Valastro, and with that Williams was gone.
Valastro is known by some as America’s favorite baker, and by others as the man behind singular confections such as a firetruck cake that actually puts out fires, a 14-foot-long alligator cake, and yes, a toilet bowl cake that really flushes. But behind those sugary oddities is a genuine Horatio Alger story, one that began decades ago with Valastro’s father — who didn’t even own a pair of shoes when he emigrated from Sicily — and reached stratospheric heights with the premiere of Buddy’s “Boss,” exactly 10 years ago this month.
“Bake You Rich” airs on the Food Network Sundays at 10 p.m.; last night's episode will be rebroadcast on April 21 at 5 p.m.
Carlo's Bakery is at 946 Old Country Rd. in Garden City; 516-357-7900; carlosbakery.com
Fiorello Dolce is at 57 Wall St. in Huntington; 631-424-0803; fiorellodolce.com