Oakland's Wooden Table Baking Company to Double in Size
Image courtesy of Wooden Table Baking Co.
If you like sandwiches and you like cookies, then you'll love alfajores, those sweet sandwich cookies that are a South American snack staple and are now also made in Oakland, thanks to the Wooden Table Baking Co.
Helmed by Buenos Aires-bred owner and head baker Andreas Ozzuna, Wooden Table now plans to double the size of its operations, thanks to a newly acquired, 5,000-square-foot commercial kitchen, distribution center and office headquarters in Oakland.
The company’s sales have multiplied sixfold since its founding in 2011, with Wooden Table alfajores now sold online and in such significant venues as Whole Foods, the Berkeley Bowl, Mollie Stone's, Lunardi's, Oaklandish and Cafe Gabriela.
“This is an exciting and hectic time for us,” Ozzuna says. “We’re thrilled to be able to invest locally, expand our production capabilities, and have more room for creativity in the kitchen.”
All Wooden Table employees are Oakland residents. Dedicated to high-quality, organic/ non-GMO, and fair trade ingredients, Wooden Table makes use of local suppliers whenever possible -- for example, Guittard Chocolate (Burlingame), Challenge Butter (Dublin), Due Torri Coffee (Oakland), and Guisto Flour (South San Francisco). Ozzuna also puts some of her profits toward local causes and events such as the Art for Aids benefit, Abrazo Queer Tango Milonga, and the Sundance Stompede.
Wooden Table’s expanded facility will be up and running later this fall.
Ozzuna says her grandmother taught her to cook and bake.
“It is from her that I inherited my love of cooking. I remember being next to her at our wooden table making raviolis, gnocchi and tarts every weekend. A whole spoonful of dulce de leche in my mouth was a reward when she wasn’t looking.”
After she moved to Oakland seventeen years ago, Ozzuna missed Argentinian food, so she had to make those things she craved.
“I started making alfajores because here in the Bay Area, I didn’t have access to Argentinian sweets. So to get them, I had to make them.”
After enrolling in an Oakland Women’s Initiative class, she wrote a business plan and started selling alfajores to local coffee shops. A Kickstarter campaign also helped Wooden Table acquire a $30,000 chocolate-enrobing machine and cooling tunnel in 2012.
“I went to each coffee shop and left samples. I grew the business mostly by offering our alfajores to stores, giving samples, being persistent and respectful at the same time.”
Wooden Table currently produces over 12,000 cookies per week, in a wide range of flavors including chocolate, chocolate-mint, espresso chocolate, chipotle and chocolate, meringue, lemon-ginger, snickerdoodle and the new peppermint-chocolate and pumpkin spice.
These two new seasonal flavors are arriving in Whole Foods' cookies-by-the-pound section right ... about ... NOW.
Wooden Table's gluten-free line of alfajores is also popular.