Nibbles Specialty Bakery | Best of Whidbey 2008

It’s all about turning ideas into edible masterpieces. Ask Nibbles Specialty Bakery owner Ruth Culbertson.

The Oak Harbor business was voted second best bakery on Whidbey, a worthy distinction for the two-year-old indulgence center, finishing just behind the more institutional Safeway bakery.

“Everything we make is fresh and made from scratch with real ingredients,” Culbertson said of the quality Nibbles not only strives for but achieves.

The bakery owner and her “fabulous staff” watch ideas grow from infancy into creations like their caramel apple cheesecake.

“We’re playing around with cheesecakes right now,” she said. “We’re always trying new things. We solve puzzles. That’s what we do.”

Puzzles can take several forms. Sometimes it means searching for the perfect ingredient. Other times it’s working with a customer to fill a last-minute order. Either way, Nibbles is ready.

“We’re always there to accommodate,” the owner said.

Culbertson came by her vocation honestly. Growing up in a baking family, she witnessed the process firsthand. Then she took it to the next level and the vocation morphed into a calling.

“All the women around me baked,” she said. “But it’s a different world when you’re doing it commercially. We actually have some family favorites on the menu.”

Culbertson arrives at the Dock Street bakery around 7 a.m. to clean and get everything prepped for the business’s 9 a.m. opening. After that, she is loathe to speculate on what the day will bring.

“I’m not sure I have a normal day,” she said with a laugh. “Sometimes I know what I’m doing in the morning, but that’s not always the case. That’s what makes it fun.”

A Nibbles existence is anything but mundane. Ideas are constantly bouncing around the bakery.

“It comes from everywhere,” Culbertson said of the inspiration phenomenon. “Sometimes the ideas come from customers. Sometimes from staff. We’ll try just about anything.”

From biscotti, to a plethora of pastries, to quiches and potpies, to an unbelievable, and ever-changing selection of cheesecakes and cookies, the only problem for the customer is whittling down the choices.

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