GTPulse: Have Your Cake and Eat Four of Five, Morsels Provides Bite Sized Joy

Morsels is one of those words that sounds the way it looks. In the same way you would know sequins are shiny before ever seeing them, or that matcha is green just from tasting it, morsels sound tiny and delicious.

Although I’ve enjoyed having coffee outside of their downtown Traverse City cafe before, it wasn’t until working an evening event at my second job that I tried one of the bite-sized cakes. A box of leftover morsels sat in the kitchen, and my coworkers and I all seemed to forget what we were doing each time we passed them. They were like little gems in a jewel box. Eating one turned into eating four or five, and on a second trip passing by the box, it was no surprise that they were gone. Why are these dome-shaped cakes fit for a Polly Pocket feast so pleasantly addicting?

“We found some science really early on that said that the first two or three bites of anything is really what your brain registers as the taste. After that, it’s relying on memory to give you those flavors. So it’s really only a couple of bites of you actually experiencing the taste,” said Morsels co-owner Misha Neidorfler.

This tidbit of information about taste encompasses the unique experience Morsels is all about; if the first two bites are the best, why not let people two-bite their way through all of their favorite desserts? Enjoying cherry pie, chocolate ganache, carrot cake and key lime pie for under 500 calories? I’ll take it.

Morsels opened up shop in 2008 in downtown Traverse City where The Franklin used to be and new french-style restaurant Brasserie Amie is moving in. She and her husband and co-owner of Morsels Jeff Neidorfler had just moved to Traverse City from his hometown of Milwaukee, where they met.

Misha grew up in Traverse City but was earning a degree in interior design in Milwaukee. After landing a job in the field after graduating, she met her husband who was working as an architect. A perfect match.

“It’s a very common combo,” she said with a laugh. 

The couple with the cool tandem careers was fun for a while, but after their second child was born Jeff was ready for a career change and Misha was thinking about her sweet little Michigan home where she had grown up. 

“It was 2007 and things were kind of murky with the economy. Things hadn’t crashed but it was starting. We felt that architecture was going to start hurting and wanted to get out on our own terms, so we thought, okay we’ll move to Traverse City. But then it was like, what will we do?”

Throughout dating and their marriage, Misha and Jeff loved to bake together. It was something they enjoyed, something they had bonded together over, and something they were good at.

“And we continued to bake often together even after we had kids. We had always joked about bring older and opening a bakery somewhere. And then we thought, well maybe we should really look at that as an idea. We didn’t want to just open a bakery, we wanted it to be something unique with a fresh take on baked goods.”

On an April afternoon, while the kids were napping, Misha and Jeff sat at their back patio and came up with the idea for Morsels in about an hour.

“He said, ‘What if everything is little?’ and I said ‘Ok, but it needs to be its own shape.’”

The upside-down tulip shape became the template that all of their flavor creations would fill. They started with the five original flavors Tall On Taste, Ninja Turtle, Nuts & Berries, Quarter Cupcake, and Seventh Heaven, which are all still available today, though they have plenty of new morsels that have joined the roster since then.

“I’m actually working on next year’s schedule, and it changes from year to year, and there’s like 160 flavors.”

Traverse City quickly fell in love with the little baked treats that packed a big taste. Where else could you experience so many different dessert flavors all at once? 

“You could have the same amount of dessert you bought normally if you bought a cupcake or a piece of pie, only you could have three or four different things.”

They knew they wanted to serve coffee at Morsels as well and still work with their original supplier Intelligentsia Coffee to this day. As a sidebar, I don’t know what’s in that coffee but one cup of it and won’t need another hit of caffeine for the rest of the day after, I’m not complaining.

Morsels has had to adjust to new safety practices, and Misha and Jeff are using their own time to be cheap labor at the bakeshop lately. These Covid times are tough, but they’re tougher.

“We jumped back in so I’m baking and he’s also baking and working up front a day a week. It’s been actually pretty fun to get back into it.”

Fall flavors are in full swing at Morsels, and due to inconsistencies in delivery conditions, the only place you can get them is in town. You don’t have to stick to just the bakeshop, however, Fresh Coast Market and Burritt’s both are now carrying Morsels too.

Make sure to check out their fall flavors, classics, and any other dessert favorites you might have. Gift boxes for the season holidays are available, and fall flavors like pumpkin, apple and caramel are here. If it’s not a common phrase now then it should be – who doesn’t like Morsels?

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Categories: GTPulse