The twenty-something duo who brought a slice of the upscale cupcake scene to Healdsburg with Moustache Baked Goods have branched out to a dessert-based venture on Matheson Street. Their new ice cream and pie bar, called Noble Folk, couples Scandinavian and Japanese culinary influences with an affinity for locally sourced ingredients and light-hearted experimentation.
Co-owners Christian Sullberg and Osvaldo Jimenez, who are from Healdsburg and Santa Rosa, respectively, opened Moustache Baked Goods in 2011. According to Jimenez, the debut initially raised questions about the longevity of a cupcake-focused business in Healdsburg. “Some people didn’t think the cupcake thing would work in Healdsburg – it’s a small town,” he said. “How do you do it with just cupcakes?”
It was support from die-hard fans, as well as a conscious move away from commercial baking practices, (Moustache is one of few North Bay bakeries that eschews cake mix, Jimenez said) that allowed them to succeed. “We thought of this concept called the ‘farm-to-cake’ bakery and that’s why this store has been so successful,” Jimenez said. “We build a relationship with people as opposed to putting a product on our shelf.”
In addition, the owners’ commitment to their work and willingness to revise their business practices allowed them to look to opening a second business. “We’re constantly reassessing and strategizing,” Jimenez said, “and this store has been self-functioning for a year and a half, and it’s given us an opportunity to do Noble Folk.”
The idea to open Noble Folk was born from their affinity for innovation, Sullberg said. “One day I was working on making some ice cream,” he recalled. “It was something I felt like Healdsburg was really lacking. I started doing these very wacky, different flavor combinations.”
Reception for his ice cream creations, which included atypically savory flavors as Japanese black sesame, proved more positive than Sullberg anticipated. “What’s so cool about Healdsburg is that people really appreciate people like us that are trying to push the everyday flavors of things.”
Noble Folk pies tend to blend fruit with spices or herbs; according to Jimenez the flavor roster includes a cardamom apple creation, as well as a pie that blends strawberries and blueberries with ginger. Jimenez is also taking time to experiment with novel flavor combinations, including apricot and thyme, as well as jasmine custard. Homemade ice cream flavors range from English Breakfast to Japanese Purple Yam.
As with Moustache, Jimenez and Sullberg continue to source ingredients from local farmers for Noble Folk. Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Peach and Produce supplies peaches for their pies, while Front Porch Farm in the Russian River Valley mills old-world grains including bolero and faro.
“We’re calling them heritage pies,” Jimenez said. “We’re trying to offer a pie that’s based on tradition.” Their old-world pie crust ties back into the owners’ commitment to avoid the mass-production techniques that grew to prominence in the 1970s, according to Jimenez.
In high summer, Noble Folk plans to introduce a ‘single-origin’ pie, its ingredients all originating from a single geographic location – in this case, Front Porch Farm. The inspiration, Jimenez said, came from the single-origin coffee movement.
New pie flavors may be introduced in the next two to three months, as Noble Folk finds its rhythm, Jimenez said. He recommends that locals stop by mid-week to avoid heightened weekend activity, or between the hours of 6 – 9 p.m. “We’re really pushing for the late night coffee crowd.” Jimenez said of their hours of operation.
Currently, a scoop of ice cream at Noble Folk costs $3.50, while a slice of pie runs $5.25. A whole pie may be ordered with notice given 24 hours beforehand, Jimenez said.
Located at 116 Matheson Street, Noble Folk is open seven days a week, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/thenoblefolk.