Croissants at the newly opened Brighton bakery Solodko, which means “sweet” in Ukrainian, are embellished with strawberries arranged like a tiara. Other croissants have figs, pistachios, and swirls of icing, all adding a twist to the classical French.
The macarons are a spin on the traditional with thick ganache fillings of lavender currant or blue cheese walnut pear. Honey cakes, tarts, sweetbreads, and challah sprinkled with sesame seeds reflect the Ukrainian traditions of owners Ilona Znakharchuk, 23, and her sister, Irina, 29, who arrived in the United States as little girls.
Then there are the custom cakes for celebrations: tall, regal, dramatic, and decorated with buttercream flowers and arty wisps. Ilona, the skilled baker, was inspired by trips to Ukraine to see her grandparents.
“I was blown away by the pastry shops,” she says. “Everything was so beautiful and delicious.”
Although she was studying finance, baking was her passion, and she launched a small business as a sophomore at Boston College.
She first posted photos of her macarons on Instagram — and orders began to come in from students and professors.
“I would bake on the weekends and deliver the macarons around campus during the week,” Ilona says.
Then she added clients for her cakes.
“When senior year rolled around, I knew what I wanted to do.”
The college’s accelerator program, which supports student start-ups, and an internship at Jonquils Cafe & Bakery on Newbury Street helped Ilona gain experience, and she made plans to open her own shop with Irina at her side. The sisters remodeled an old pizzeria tucked between a beauty salon and variety store into a modest bakery, with a new, shiny tile floor, beige walls, and several café tables.
“It feels like a miracle when we walk in,” says Ilona.
38 Brooks St., Brighton, 617-300-0368, solodkoboston.com.
ANN TIREGER KURLAND
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.