by Joshua Jerome
BARRE — I was strolling through downtown Barre recently and found myself craving a cupcake, so I made my way over to Delicate Decadence. The owner, Tim Boltin, was just finishing up in the kitchen and asked me with excitement, “do you want to try something really good?” The answer to that question every time is, ‘yes!’ The aroma in the bakery was incredible and as I sat down he handed me a plate with a fresh baked roll sliced in half with slices of pork loin and a tangy Carolinian style barbeque sauce wedged in the middle. With one bite, I was in flavor heaven.
I knew Tim had purchased Delicate Decadence from the original owner just over a year ago, so I asked him, “How did you get here?” Tim said he and his wife, Stacie, were both in the military and were stationed in Germany when they reached their 20-year mark and retirement became possible. Neither Tim nor Stacie knew exactly if they wanted to leave the military, but Stacie was pregnant, so wherever they went would be as a family. To make that decision after 20 years is a process deserving a week of classes and re-education about careers in the civilian world. While looking through Military Transition Times, Tim saw an ad for New England Culinary Institute and he thought, “I want to cook!”
Moving to Vermont had already been talked about since Stacie grew up in Woodstock, and in 2005 they decided to retire from military service and begin a new adventure in the Green Mountain State. Stacie took a nursing job and pursued her interests in photography, and after graduating from NECI, Tim went on to cook at Sugarbush for a former NECI instructor. “It was a great experience,” Tim said, but he worked like a dog and by this time, Stacie was pregnant with their second child. He then moved to a new job at Blue Cross Blue Shield. There he worked within a corporate structure where he tried to incorporate his affinity for his southern roots culinary traditions into the fold. At the same time, Tim began working at Delicate Decadence periodically providing a more casual and creative outlet.
After five years, Tim decided to go full-time at Delicate Decadence. Then, within a year, an opportunity provided itself to acquire the well-established bakery located at 15 Cottage Street in downtown Barre. Now almost 15 months after taking ownership, Tim is able to follow his passion for cooking and provide a diverse array of savory morsels and sweet confections. As Tim was describing to me the joys of working with his staff, the tangy barbeque sauce kept biting my palate while my eyes kept wandering over to the case of fudge, cannolis and cupcakes. With every customer that walked in, Tim called them by their first name and asked them how they were doing all the while his three staff members were busy getting their weekly meal prepared for pickup and delivery.
Tim talked about his passion for working with young adults and using the Vermont Department of Labor’s job training program. Mentoring provides an opportunity to “invest time in people because it’s important,” Tim said. On occasion, you can find one of his two daughters helping behind the counter and making sure he doesn’t slack off. With a year under his belt as a bakery owner, Tim confidently explained to me that baking and preparing wedding cakes “should be fun” and not a stressful experience. Otherwise, you’re simply “doing it wrong.” Tim was excited to say that for the first time next month, Delicate Decadence was going to be a featured vendor at Hunger Mountain Coop and was also gearing up for Valentine’s Day with production beginning next week.
As we wrapped up our conversation, I was thankful for getting to know Tim’s past and being able to see the enjoyment and how the community benefits from his passion. With one last look at the fresh macaroons, I left until next time.
The writer is executive director of The Barre Partnership.