Lavender Bee Baking Co. shares space with El Colombiano Coffee and Light of Day Records in one small shop named Monumental Market in Jamaica Plain. The 29-year-old bakery owner, Kelsey Munger, opened in February 2020, one month before COVID shut everything down; happily, she was able to reopen a few months later. Munger runs a peanut- and tree nut-free kitchen due to allergies she’s dealt with since she was a child. Resolved to learn how to make foods she could enjoy, Munger started baking when she was in her teens, even bringing birthday cakes to friends’ parties so she could eat them, too. “I baked what would be safe for me,” she says. At 14, she was working part-time in bakery kitchens, including Susu Bakery in Wellesley, then a gluten-free shop in Belmont. She managed the student-run coffee shop at Connecticut College when she was a student there. Munger sold her nut-free sweet and savory baked goods at a few area farmers markets before opening the JP store.
Popular items include banana chocolate-chip bread, apple cake, scones, savory biscuits (the mozzarella tomato biscuits are her favorite), and doughnut muffins. Also a hit are the pop-tarts she makes with seasonal fillings. (Check out the pumpkin-spice cheesecake variety.) Customer cookie favorites are Ginger Molasses, Salted Chocolate Chip, and one of her signature sweets, the Brookie: a brownie bar with a sunbutter cookie baked on top. (Pastries range from $2 to $5.) The baker also makes gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan pastries, savory and sweet, and whips up frosted cakes, cupcakes, and holiday pies to order.
For families with children who must avoid nuts, the place is a godsend. “Parents can say to their kids, ‘You can pick anything you want here’,” says Munger. “I wanted to create a safe place for people with peanut and tree nut allergies and also a space that brings the community together.” With the coffee and music tie-in, and now some outdoor tables, the little cafe does just that. When customers leave with a vintage record, a cup of java, and a little brown bag containing a Lavender Bee pastry, Munger says: “The trifecta!”
Lavender Bee Baking Co. is located in Monumental Market at 36 South St., Jamaica Plain, 617-942-2945; www.lavenderbee.com
Lisa Zwirn can be reached at email@example.com