Cheesecake-lovers are in for a treat: an entire bakery menu dedicated to their favorite sinfully sweet dessert. The Hudson Valley Cheesecake, a family-owned-and-operated independent bakery, has opened up shop at 56 Main Street in the heart of the Village of New Paltz.
The store’s signature product is the Rainbow Cookie Cheesecake, but there are also vegan and gluten-free cheesecakes, as well as cheesecake smoothies, custom cheesecakes for weddings, birthdays and celebrations of all kinds and even cheesecake-filled cannoli and cupcakes.
“We make everything from scratch, right here on the premises with all local ingredients,” said owner and cheesecake diva Dana Charres. She opened up her doors three weeks ago to a reception of locals, students, tourists and cheesecake enthusiasts from all over the region. “Everybody has been really welcoming and excited to have us in the neighborhood.”
Charres recently hung up her hardhat as a construction worker with Local 17 to launch the business. “I’ve been baking since I was a little girl, but this is my first brick-and-mortar store,” she said in between selling slices of cheesecake and taking orders for specialized cakes. “I’ve was working construction and making cheesecakes out of the commercial kitchen they have in the union hall, and selling them by word-of-mouth.”
The cheesecake niche was pure happenstance. “I was working at the Lexus Diner [in Newburgh], and it was Thanksgiving and my sister wanted me to make rainbow cookies and my brother wanted me to bake a cheesecake, and I was so tired after working such long hours that I just found a way to blend the two. That became my signature dessert, the Rainbow Cookie Cheesecake, which is our store’s logo.”
Though she and her family are from Newburgh, Charres has always loved and frequented New Paltz. “I knew I wanted to open up a bakery and I wanted it to be in a vibrant, aesthetic place, so when this spot became available in New Paltz I jumped at it,” she said. “I would always come here with my daughter and my son to go shopping in the different boutiques, and eat out at the Gilded Otter or other restaurants in the downtown.” Now her children and her sister are helping her run the business.
“We have every type of cheesecake you can think of,” said Charres. The wide variety of flavors including chocolate, strawberry, rainbow and a vegan/gluten-free option made with a crust of raw nuts, almonds and coconut oil, sweetened with local maple sugar, and blended with vegan cream cheese and cashews.
Charres, her sister and her two teenage children manage to keep up with the chopping, whipping, blending and friendly service. To see more of their products, stop in, call them or follow them on Instagram @hudson_valley_cheesecake.