By Chris Shaffer

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Shrouded in mystery is this season of giving, and they’ve kept quite a secret in this range town of Hibbing. For four generations they’ve saved the directions, for a version of fruitcake that’s rich in confections.

“At the turn of the 19th century, you know, the Iron Range was a big melting pot of immigrants that were coming here looking for a better future in mining,” said Hannah Forti, co-owner of Sunrise Bakery. “And Paul’s great grandfather Julio was a baker in Rome, and he started the old Sunrise Bakery on Pine Street in old north Hibbing.”

All these east Europeans came to dig these ore ditches, with last names that ended with “etti” and “iches.” They brought their own customs, but they all could agree, on this wonderful bread from this small bakery. Yes, it’s been over 100 years that this family’s been chillin’, in the very same town that raised Bobby Dylan.

But the problem with fruitcake is most isn’t worth eating, so some people throw them, or they’re used for competing. One use is a doorstop, or to hammer a nail, hide someone a file to break out of jail.

And then there’s this theory, that there is only one, and it’s simply re-gifted when the holiday’s done. If this theory’s true, it should be no real shock, when you take a big bite and it’s hard as a rock. But this fruitcake’s awesome, most folks say with conviction, that taking one bite could lead to addiction.

best fruit cake in minnesota WCCO Viewers’ Choice For Best Fruitcake In Minnesota

(credit: CBS)

Now Sunrise Bakery is crazy making holiday treats, they’re shipped all over the country for nice folks to eat. There’s ciabatta, ricotta, and they’re rolling potica, but this food’s Slovenian, unlike your pizza.

But where is the fruitcake? It’s the reason we’re here. See, the Fortis are waiting til Christmas draws near

“We have a very short window for selling fruitcake,” said co-owner Paul Forti.

Paul could make it right now, if he had his druthers, but then his fruitcake might taste a bit like the others. Don’t worry, this couple will soon start to baking, an edible fruitcake that’s well worth the making. Then they’ll sync up their watches, wait for just the right minute, make up the batter and put all the stuff in it.

“It’s fresh,” Hannah said. “It’s a couple weeks a year that it sells.”

They’ll bake it just right, not too long before Christmas, they’ll sell it, and ship it, from island to isthmus. As the ancestors watch from on high they’ll elate.

“I think they’d be proud,” Paul said.

That their own sunrise fruitcake is the best in the state!

Chris Shaffer

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