Biscotti to sweeten Maple Valley Farmers Market

Lorrie Gommi is bringing a family tradition to the Maple Valley Farmers Market.

Gommi started a business called Mama Rizzo’s Biscotti and More in order to sell her much loved varieties of biscotti at the Market which opens Saturday, June 20.

“I’ve always enjoyed baking for friends and family, especially biscotti,” Gommi said. “Now that the farmers market is coming up I decided to give it a try.”

Her recipe is her mother’s and in a way this has become a tribute to Gommi’s mother who has passed away.

“I can’t remember exactly where she got the recipe but she’s full Italian like I am and biscotti was part of our daily snacks,” Gommi said. “Anybody that would come over and have a cup of coffee would have a biscotti to go with it. She would make them a couple times a week and she would put them in a tin.”

Growing up there was always biscotti in the tin, she said, and when she got married she continued that tradition because “some moms make chocolate chip cookies but my mom made biscotti.”

Friends, neighbors, just about everybody she knows have been talking about the farmers market, Gommi said.

In March she had made biscotti for the homeowner’s association for her development when one of the members, Brooke Dillon, a teacher at Tahoma High suggested Gommi apply for a vendor’s stall at the farmers market.

“At first I thought, ‘Oh, no,’ but the more I thought about it the more I thought I should do it,” Gommi said. “It’s been expensive … but I took it from there and started the process. It’s been a long process.”

Gommi will use the kitchen at the Greater Maple Valley Community Center in order to meet health department regulations. She’ll make her first big batch on June 17 with the help of her husband, Jules, who is getting his food handlers card so he can bake and package alongside his wife.

Every Wednesday during the market season, which runs until October, Gommi will have four hours at the community center to bake her biscotti. She’s familiar with the kitchen since she makes lunch there for the senior citizens every week.

She’s not sure yet how many batches she’ll be able to make “but with the capacity of the ovens I should be able to do double what I can do at home.”

Gommi said a single batch yields 24-27 biscotti and she can do four batches at a time in the community center kitchen.

“I am hoping I can make a couple hundred biscotti because I make quite a few different kinds,” she said.

Her biscotti are twice baked, with the first round lasting 25 minutes or so, then a second round in the oven after they are sliced will bake for another 15 minutes.

Among the varieties she makes are anise, which she said gives it a licorice flavor, as well as classic almond with chocolate drizzle in the summer as well as sugar and cinnamon, lemon, orange, and coconut as well as chocolate.

With the sugar and cinnamon, Gommi explained, “the sugar kind of caramelizes and it’s really good,” and then the coconut biscotti has coconut inside and out “and it toasts and gives it a nice flavor.”

Gommi plans to be at just about every Saturday market in Maple Valley during the season except for one weekend she has set aside for a wedding.

In addition to her husband’s help, Gommi’s two daughters will join them, “so it will be really fun.”

“I’m excited about it,” she said. “We put up the canopy last night on the back deck with the tables so we know where everything’s going to be when we get there. And now that we’ve gotten over all the hurdles I am really excited. I just hope it all goes well.”