By: Michelle Fasig
Every morning at 6 am, Chef Valentino Hernandez begins his day by preparing fresh dough, handcrafting pastry cream and molding pastry shells for all the delicious and authentic confections customers have come to love from Valentino’s Bakery. Valentino’s Bakery is a fairly new establishment off Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Duluth, having just opened their doors almost a year ago. However, there is a reason their bakery has been met with such success in a short amount of time, and that reason is Chef and Owner Valentino Hernandez.
Chef Valentino has been a master baker for the majority of his life. Having entered the craft at the young age of 17 in his home country of Venezuela, he has been concocting delectable sweets and treats for over 50 years. Using only fresh ingredients and preparing everything from scratch in-house daily, Valentino’s Bakery offers customers the opportunity to taste authentic Latin American and European flavors.
When you enter Valentino’s Bakery you are met with an eye-catching pastry case that reveals cakes and sweets in a rainbow of flavors and colors, as well as tempting breakfast and lunch choices. From Alfajores, a delicate cookie filled with dulce de leche, to Golfeados, a traditional Venezuelan cinnamon roll topped with cheese, to favorites like the classic fruit tart, piled high with an assortment of fresh fruits, there are a multitude of options for each customer to enjoy.
Modeled after typical European cafés, Valentino’s Bakery is exactly the kind of place that encourages customers to sit down, take a break and enjoy a treat with a cup of good coffee. If you aren’t sure where to start when you are faced with so many scrumptious options, General Manager, Paola Teran encourages people to simply ask. “We will walk you through all of our different cakes, and we try to ask what you like and don’t like. We wanted to offer desserts that people can’t get anywhere else. Where else can you find a guava cake?” she points out. “Have more than one though…and then take some cookies home while you’re at it,” she advises with a smile.
Each item served at Valentino’s Bakery receives the same amount of attention and care from Chef Valentino and his culinary expertise allows him to serve savory items as well as sweet. With items like Pastelitos, flaky pastry filled with, ham, beef or spinach and ricotta cheese, and Argentinian Empanadas, delicate dough filled with ground beef and boiled eggs, it is easy to see why this bakery has garnered such a following.
With his years of experience in the culinary world, Chef Valentino has spent hundreds of hours researching, testing and trying out his recipes. When he moved to Georgia a few years ago, he was inspired by his own passion of Venezuelan flavor and the persistence of his family to bring these recipes to life in the form of Valentino’s Bakery. He originally moved to Georgia to be close to his family who now live here, and so it only made sense that Valentino’s Bakery be a family run business. Whether it is Chef Valentino’s wife who periodically works up front, his granddaughter Paola who runs their day-to-day operations, or her father who acts as co-owner, this little Venezuelan bakery sets the example for what it means to be a family business. And, when you set foot in Valentino’s Bakery you truly feel as though they are inviting you to be a part of that family too.