SEATTLE -- "Confess Your Love for Cheesecake." That's what it says under the sign at The Confectional, a tiny store front in the heart of Pike Place Market.
"And we hear, 'The Confectional: Confess Your Love For Cheesecake,' all day long," laughs owner Paul Verano. "Everybody has to read it and then they laugh, and then they take a picture, and then they take a picture of the cheesecakes, and then they sometimes buy them."
He says the name popped into his head about 12 years ago during a road trip with his partner.
"I just said, 'Forgive me, chocolate, for I have sinned. I have not yet had my daily confection.' And he said, 'you've got to write that down, that's hilarious!' And Confectional just sort of came out of my mouth as I was thinking about where would one say this quote."
The Confectional was born in May 2005 while Paul was living in New Zealand. He opened shop here in Seattle last December.
"I came back to the states and said, 'Why wouldn't I do it here after doing it in such a great test market of four million people?'"
Not formally trained as a pastry chef, Paul says it was his friends that got him to sell his cheesecakes in the first place.
"I took my cheesecakes to parties and barbecues and all of our friends there said, 'Paul, you need to start a business. This cheesecake is amazing.'"
What makes them so amazing?
"I go for rich, dense, in-your-face kind of cheesecake," Paul says.
They're also made with all natural ingredients - no hydrogenated oils.
"Which proved to be really tricky, especially (because) you can't use graham crackers! It's hard to find a name brand graham cracker that doesn't have hydrogenated oils, so I actually use Maria biscuits from Spain for my crust."
There are about a dozen flavors to chose from.
"The most popular flavor is the raspberry white chocolate. The New York style or our caramel is our second most popular flavor."
"The quadruple chocolate, peanut butter chocolate, coconut cherry chocolate and cookies and mint, which is my all-time favorite."
And if you can't handle an individual-sized cheesecake (they're about the size of a muffin), check out one of the truffles.
"Just on a whim I thought, 'I'm gonna put a batch in a pan and roll it into balls and see what happens,' and (on the) first go it was amazing!"
Paul says his next challenge is to figure out what to say to all those people who scream their love for cheesecake as they walk by his shop.
"Like, maybe, 'you're dissolved my child?' I don't know."
Places Paul likes to Go Eat!: Canlis, Kingfish, Mondello, Szmania's, Serafina, Aqua Verde, Dahlia Lounge, Icon Grill.
For more information: http://www.theconfectional.com/