Monster cookies are a sweet opportunity
What do Shakespeare and the Cookie Monster have in common? The answer is that they would both feel right at home in Stratford right now.
While the Bard enjoyed feeling poetic by the Avon, the excitable muppet would be best suited to hanging out at a new snack business that opened its doors on Saturday (20th November): Cookie Cottage on Shrieves Walk.
The Cookie Cottage is the dream of Hannah Odell and Gary Meakin.
The good friends met while working for Audi in the Stratford showroom, and although they loved working there they had longed dreamed of opening their own business.
Hannah explained: “We both worked at Audi for 15 years. Before Covid, we’d often get together and think about things we’d like to do together, and we had this particular dream that we’d open this fabulous cookie shop in Stratford as we both come from here.”
Covid changed things for the pair, Gary carried on working while Hannah went on furlough. While at home with two young children, she wanted to make the most of her time and began looking into cookie recipes.
“I trialled recipes and giving them to family and friends,” said Hannah, who counts husband Jason and children Joshua, six, and Sienna, four, among her willing cookie-tasters.
“I started doing local delivery through Instagram and Facebook which was really good. Then The Farm in Snitterfied agreed to stock them, which was thrilling.”
Things really began to come together for the shop when Gary came on board.
Hannah explained: “Gary and I are super close and we stayed in touch. In May he called me and said, ‘actually can we do the cookie company together’, and I said, ‘yeah absolutely’.
“Ever since then we’ve just pushed it together as a team and we’ve done all the local food markets, food festivals, The Farm, and the next natural step for us was the shop.”
Hannah says the shop is a big step, but she is confident it has a wow factor that will delight customers and offer something a bit different.
“We wanted to do something really creative, and with the whole Cookie Cottage theme it is an experience walking into the shop,” said Hannah.
The first thing customers will notice is the rather large and magical-looking tree that takes centre stage at the Cookie Cottage.
“It’s fabulous, we are really happy with it,” continued Hannah. “The builders just came on board with our vision.”
For now the business is counter service only, with drinks and cookies in many forms. “It’s kind of grab-and-go, but you won’t just go because you’ll be so fascinated with everything around you,” added Hannah.
The real star of the show though is of course the cookies.
Hannah explained: “We have a wide range of cookies in all sorts of flavours and we completely stuff the cookies while they are being baked and they are topped in that same flavour as well, for example with Kinder Bueno, Biscoff and Crunchie. So they are really indulgent.
“We also do huge cookie pies which sell-out in seconds. Our cookie jars are also really popular.”
There are a number of new outlets in Stratford selling sweet snacks, such as Bubble Pom at Red Lion Court and Lola’s Waffles on Rother Steet, but Hannah says they are confident they will stand out.
“We are very visual and already have a good Instagram following, and we make sure that we are making things that are not only delicious but also really exciting looking.
“We want people to want to take photos of our cookies because they are wacky and super indulgent.”