By Michelle Collins
Published © Boston Local Food Festival / Sept 20 2015
Used by permission.
Growing up with a mother who made homemade cheesecake on a regular basis would leave most children content. But for David Izenstatt, he decided to take his mom’s cheesecake-making to a whole other level.
“I went to [Boston University] and got a history degree…then came back to Maine and started cooking,” Izenstatt, Owner and Founder of Izzy’s Cheesecake, said.
Izenstatt founded Izzy’s Cheesecake, based in Portland, Maine, in 1989 after attending the Culinary Institute of America and cooking at various places across the United States for several years. After one of the chefs he worked with asked him to make a chocolate cheesecake – which Izenstatt initially scoffed at, as he believed traditional cheesecake shouldn’t be tampered with – his innovative ideas for the product emerged and Izzy’s was born.
“We’re a high quality, handcrafted product,” Izenstatt said. “We use local blueberries and fruits…[and]some local eggs when we can.”
With flavors like Maine Blueberry Swirl, Pumpkin White Chocolate, Kahlua Mocha and Stout Mocha Turtle, Izenstatt has come a long way from his traditional-cheesecake-only days. Although not all of the ingredients he needs are made locally (i.e., cream cheese), Izenstatt does his best to use as many local ingredients as possible, including using Cabot and Hood dairy products.
“Now more than ever [it’s important]….to keep these local farmers going,” Izenstatt said.
The passion behind using local ingredients and supporting local farmers in Izzy’s cheesecakes inspired the company to get involved in this year’s Boston Local Food Festival. Izenstatt’s hope is that BLFF attendees will see that his product – although based in Maine – can measure up to any cheesecake made here in Boston.
“We’re just as good, if not better,” Izenstatt said.
The weekend before the BLFF, Izzy’s Cheesecake will be at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine. The fair’s focus is to celebrate the rural and agricultural traditions of Maine, and Izenstatt will be showcasing his use of local ingredients (including sweetening some of his cakes with local honey) for the event.