BLACKSBURG, Va. – It may not feel like it, but it is the season of pumpkin-spiced everything. That’s clear as day when you walk inside Halwa Bakery and Cafe in downtown Blacksburg.
This inviting atmosphere is part of what keeps people like Clifton Davis, a senior at Virginia Tech, coming back for more. He tells us, “They’re very friendly, and I think that’s more important than anything.”
In addition to the cozy atmosphere, it’s the variety of drinks and food that draw him and so many. “They have so many items to choose from, if you also just want to try something new like Mediterranean.”
His classmate, Vani Vijayram, says that despite the never-ending list of drinks and desserts, she has her favorites.
“I always get the pistachio iced latte with oat milk. It’s probably the best latte I’ve ever had. Normally, I’d get the baklava. Lately, I’ve been getting the kenafa too.”
Karmen George is the mastermind behind it all. She jokingly tells us, “If I’m in the kitchen I’m a dangerous person.”
This is something that started early for George, who says, “I started cooking and baking, and my family realized that and encouraged me. So after that, I started making my own recipes.”
These recipes now line the cases of Halwa, from bagels to apple pastries and all your fall favorites. Like so many bakeries and coffee shops, George says, “I was waiting for September 1st.”
Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin spice macchiatos, scones, muffins and breads clearly indicate that it’s autumn inside the walls of Halwa. It’s within these walls that you’ll find comfort, and that’s what means the most to Karmen George.
“When I see smiles on my customers’ faces when they taste something, that makes me happy.”