It’s been 10 years since Coastal Mist opened in Old Town Bandon, wooing customers with artisan chocolates and pastries. Turning the corner on decade number two, the shop has an expanded kitchen and retail hours. Savories and sweets are now served daily from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. And, the pièce de résistance nouveau is house-made gelato and sorbetto.
With an array of chocolates and pastries already turning heads and winning awards, why gelato?
“It’s the pinnacle of frozen desserts,” said Kevin Shaw.
The creative minds behind Coastal Mist are Nicole Malloy, Kevin Shaw and Tara Shaw. The trio-de-force trained and worked around the country, and abroad, before settling in Oregon. Coastal Mist recipes retain a European flair– Belgian chocolate, French patisserie, Italian gelato. But their west coast style lends a lively atmosphere to the shop, where dessert and pastry cases beckon with seasonal flavors, whimsical shapes and colors.
The trio had its first gelato making experience in Rome. A visit to a friend’s gelateria coincided with a failed shop freezer, so Kevin and Nicole rolled up their sleeves and spent the day in the kitchen helping make fresh batches. Tara’s photo of the impromptu crew is on display in the Bandon shop.
“It was definitely the point when we decided we wanted to make gelato,” recalled Tara.
Commercial gelato production requires the right space and equipment. Not just freezers, but a dairy pasteurizer as well. The opportunity for additional space arose last year. The newly appointed kitchen, behind the retail shop, gleams with stainless steel work surfaces. New gelato equipment stands between the chocolate tempering station and a row of refrigeration units. The renovation was a family project completed with help from Nicole’s parents, Jeff and Randi Malloy, and Tara’s parents, Billie and Bruce Sturtevant.
Kevin makes the chemistry sound easy: Gelato’s creamy texture and mouthfeel result from a milk based mixture, (sometimes combined with egg), that’s lower in fat, but more dense than ice cream. Coastal Mist sorbettos get the same careful attention, for a decadent frozen dessert that’s dairy-free.
The 14 flavors present a tantalizing display. Fortunately, bite-size samples are available. Traditional Italian varieties are a good place to start. Zabaglione, made with egg yolk and sweet Marsala wine, begs to be savored slowly. Fior di Latte is delightfully simple, just milk and sugar. And, it pairs especially well with espresso in an Affogato.
Seasonal west coast flavors, such as Mulled Cranberry and Pear sorbetto or Marionberry Maple Walnut gelato are eye-catching with their jeweled hues. Tartuffo is a dark chocolate extravagance with cubed truffles and shards of tempered chocolate.
Coastal Mist opened mid-recession, in July 2009. For many years, returning visitors expressed a sigh of relief to find the shop still open, said Nicole. The business weathered the economic recession while earning praise from a growing fan base.
The guest book illustrates customer enthusiasm with endorsements such as, “Exquisite,” “Life-changing,” and, “Dream come true.”
Constructing a commercial kitchen at the Shaw’s home property was a strategic, cost saving decision in the start-up phase. Moving production to the retail site is an exciting step forward, explained Tara. The crew can prep and serve faster, which facilitates more hours for retail staff and expanded selections for customers.
In addition to desserts, Coastal Mist serves savory salads, sandwiches, pastries and quiche, which can be enjoyed in the shop or packaged to go. A boutique selection of retail items caters to food lovers with specialty sauces, custom scented candles and chocolate themed memorabilia. Chocolates and pastries are packaged to order. Take time to browse, indulge in the shop, and save a little something for later.
Coastal Mist is located in Old Town Bandon, 210 2nd St. SE and online at coastalmist.com.
Article and photos by Geneva Miller.