By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
The Nuns at New Skete in Cambridge are partnering with Oscar’s Smokehouse in Warrensburg to produce bacon-chocolate cheesecake.
“Even though it’s very trendy right now to have bacon and chocolate,” said Ida Williams, spokesperson for the Nuns of New Skete, “people’s first reaction is still, really? Then they try it.”
Sister Cecilia, one of the nuns who was delivering the regionally famous cheesecakes to Oscar’s last week, said of the pairing, “Ida suggested it, and we thought, well, it couldn’t be that bad. When you first start eating it, you taste the chocolate, then you get the bacon. It’s salty and sweet.”
Joq Quintal, Oscar’s manager and third generation member of the family business, said the first one sold “while I was putting them in the case.”
The initial delivery was 50 cheesecakes, which retail at $18.99 each. They come frozen, can be refrozen once and can last six months if needed.
Mr. Quintal said Oscar’s has had success partnering with other small local businesses — and has even offered prior items incorporating bacon and chocolate.
He said of New Skete, “They approached us very well, as professional as can be. The cake was already baked, done up with a label — and getting with the Nuns of New Skete? Nobody has that following….
“Besides, that sweet and salty, it just goes together. We like to bring in the good stuff. It only made sense. We’ve been eating their cheesecakes every Christmas. My mother loves the Kalhua one. It didn’t take me long to say yes. Now’s a good time for it. We’ll have a lot of foot traffic from now to Labor Day.”
Ms. Williams said, “What people don’t realize is that even though the New Skete Kitchens is owned and operated by the Nuns, it really is a business, a unique small business. We’re looking to partner with other unique small businesses in the
area to create unique products.”
She said they are wholesaling the cake directly to Oscar’s, for exclusive distribution. Oscars provides the bacon. “Where it goes from there will be up to them, based on demand.”
Ms. Williams said the Nuns are working with other area businesses — especially a couple of Washington County farms — to develop additional, potentially exclusive-sale partnerships. Rather than distributing directly, it lets the Nuns sell wholesale to a somewhat captive business, she said, “good for everyone” with limited risk.