Alina’s Cakes & Cookies, which opened last week at 1252 Post Road East, is offering a variety of sweet treats to mark the Valentine’s Day holiday.
Photos, left to right: Teddy bear “Be Mine” cupcakes; Alina Dancho, owner of Alina’s Cakes & Cookies, and cupcakes with floral-design frosting.

By Gretchen Webster

WESTPORT — Valentine’s Day arrived a few days early this year when Alina’s Cakes & Cookies, a Fairfield bakery known for beautifully decorated cupcakes, cakes and specialty pastries, on Saturday opened a Westport shop at 1252 Post Road East with plenty of sweet treats on offer for the holiday of the heart.

Alina Dancho, who has owned a bakery by the same name in Fairfield for 10 years (and which remains where it is), is excited about her new store and second location, she said, especially since many of her Fairfield customers live in Westport.

The bakery is located in the space formerly occupied by the Splatterbox art studio, which moved upstairs. The shop offers an array of fresh treats for the Valentine’s holiday, including lovingly decorated cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, hearts-adorned sugar cookies, chocolate cherries, mini pastries “and lots of chocolate-covered strawberries,” she said.

Among the speciality baked goods on offer at Alina’s are, photos top to bottom: cupcakes with a golfing motif; a football-theme cake and matching cupcakes, and a variety of quiches.

It’s been a busy few days for Dancho and her team, because the bakery opened just in time to prepare football-decorated cupcakes and cakes before the Super Bowl on Sunday, with only a few days to shift gears before Valentine’s Day, when a new round of holiday-themed treats are being prepared.

Dancho also was scheduled to teach a class in how to make chocolate truffles Monday evening at the Westport Museum for History and Culture.

Alina’s is a family-owned bakery. Her mother, known as “Yaya” to everyone, makes and decorates all the cookies, and her son also helps in the business. 

Dancho sources her own ingredients using only fresh eggs from chickens she raises on her Easton property. “For everything we do, we use cage-free and organic eggs,” she said, “plus non-GMO flour.” 

The bakery also has gluten-free offerings. 

Dancho is a native of Romania, and her bakery has a European flair. Among the specialty pastries are opera cake and almond cake, favorites in Germany and Austria; a honey cake popular in Eastern Europe; tiramisu and cannolis inspired by Italy; eclairs with deliciously different fillings, and more. 

The shop’s pastries often reflect changes in the season.

The Alina’s shop in Westport also features artisan breads, baked in the new bread oven, as well as a variety of quiches. 

Dancho plans to offer many varieties “to see what the town likes,” she said.

For years, Alina’s has been known for making ornate and unusual custom cakes and cupcakes for special occasions, including weddings. Her cupcake towers are popular she said, which “we customize to whatever people need.”

“We’re just happy to be in this community,” she said of the Westport bakery. “My clients have been asking me to come here.”

Aliana’s Cakes & Cookies, 1252 Post Road East, is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Call 203-292-3510.

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Freelance writer Gretchen Webster, a Fairfield County journalist for many years, was editor of the Fairfield Minuteman and has taught journalism at New York and Southern Connecticut State universities.

Photo at left: Cakes designed for any occasion, such as this cute caterpillar, are a specialty at Alina’s Cakes & Cookies. Right: Cookies, like these brightly decorated Valentine’s sugar cookies, are made by bakery owner Alina Dancho’s mother.