Local Bakery Sells French Taste, Elegance

by Alex Cheser
Columnist

When I stepped into Martine’s Pastries for the first time last summer, I knew I’d found something wonderful. Through one of those friend-of-a-friend contacts, Martine Holzman, the owner and namesake, let me come help out for a day and see what the daily life was like in a wedding cake and pastry shop. Not only was I impressed by her kindness and the warmth of her staff, but I had never seen such elegant wedding cakes and pastries in person.

Martine’s Pastries treats customers to good taste and presentation, as evidenced by the elaborate wedding cake shown above.

Hailing from Saint-Sandoux, France, Holzman has been surrounded by food her entire life.

“My mother was a wonderful chef,” Holzman said. “She was the second-to-top chef in a very popular restaurant where all the mayors and senators ate.”

Holzman originally went to a university to pursue psychology, but, when visiting an exchange-student friend in San Francisco, she met Jim Holzman and fell in love. They returned to France, got married and lived there for seven years. During this time, Holzman attended culinary school to certify her already existing skills and began working as a chef.

In the early ’90s, the Holzmans moved to the United States but had to take sales jobs in New Jersey. Their company eventually relocated them to Lexington and that’s when they fell in love with Kentucky’s rolling hills and the potential for outdoor sporting.

Holzman left her sales job and began working small catering jobs in the area. Seeing the market for elegant wedding cakes, Holzman started Martine’s eleven years ago with Jim’s help and took on 25 cakes her first year.

“I always thought it would just be Jim and me,” Holzman said.

But today, Martine’s has five full-time employees and produces around 150 wedding cakes a year in addition to countless other celebration cakes. Holzman’s husband mainly takes care of the business side of things, but he still helps out in the kitchen during the busy season.

Martine’s cakes have been featured in magazines like Bride, Southern Brides and Tops in Lex as well as the websites of Martha Stewart and The Knot. Within the first year alone, one of Martine’s cakes was featured at the annual cake walk display in Grand Central Station in New York City.

Martine’s cakes are noted for their touch of elegance, and Holzman certainly wants to create an aesthetic that pleases the customer. Martine’s has created cakes that range from animal-inspired children’s birthday cakes, to simple and elegant wedding cakes, to a bust of Darth Maul, to a replica of Churchill Downs that took over 100 hours to make.

Holzman also strives for quality, affordability and, of course, something that’s very tasty. Holzman buys local ingredients when they are available, too. Martine’s butter comes from a local dairy farm, flour comes from Weisenberger Mill in Midway, Ky., and fruit comes from the farmers market when in season. The most popular flavors of cake are yellow with raspberry filling, strawberry champagne and, as of late, pistachio.

I would argue that most of us are not exactly considering a wedding cake right now, though. Thankfully, this past summer Martine’s started selling pastries in the front of its shop and in other Lexington locations due to client demand. You might’ve seen its cupcakes at Doodle’s and its pastries at Windy Corner Market. Martine’s has just started dealing with Bellini’s downtown. Besides cupcakes, it offers crème puffs, fruit tarts, éclairs, cake truffles, cookies, fruit and mousse tarts of various flavors, tiramisu and many others.

One of my favorites is the chocolate bombe. It’s a fist-sized mound of dark chocolate ganache covered in more chocolate and topped with a shaving of white chocolate for the fuse. These are elegant pastries made fresh every morning and they’re very affordable. The price is comparable to those of coffee shop pastries, but the quality is far superior.

If you go, Martine’s is located at 1039 Industry Rd. right off Winchester Road before you get to the Eastland Shopping Center. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Become a fan of Martine’s Pastries on Facebook for updates and special offers. As a special offer for Transylvania students through next Thursday, if you mention my article you’ll receive a free cupcake with any purchase. Vive les pâtisseries!

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