“I believe that feeding people is a form of sharing love,” said Yulla Nickles, owner of Yulla’s Desserts in Spearfish.
Yulla was born and raised in Brazil. She says her family used to spend hours together in the kitchen, bonding and cooking.
“Cooking is a joy because it puts me closer to my culture, my country, and my family,” she said.
Yulla’s love affair with food began when she was small.
“In my childhood, we always went to my family’s farms, and I grew up watching and helping my grandmother, mother, and aunts cooking and doing delicious things,” she explained.
“The best moments of my life were always by the oven in the kitchen.”
But food isn’t the only thing that she loves.
Yulla met Patrick years ago while he was in Brazil, and her life changed.
She fell in love with him, and they were married. Together, the pair returned to Patrick’s home state of South Dakota. Together, they had three kids, Caio, Analis, and Eduarda.
“I realized that Spearfish is a charming touristic city and although very small, welcoming,” said Yulla. “Opening a bakery is honestly the best way to meet people and [make] friends.”
One of her favorite places to grab a meal is Nonna’s Kitchen, an Italian restaurant in Spearfish. She met Darren and Nancy Manzari and brought them some things from her own kitchen.
“One day I brought some samples of the Italian desserts I make, and then it all started at the end of last year,” said Yulla.
Yulla is partnering with Nonna’s Kitchen to create Nonna’s Treats by Yulla’s Desserts.
She opened the shop and started selling desserts, pastries, and more connected to Nonna’s Kitchen in mid-February. Despite its location, the dessert stop is open during hours independent of Nonna’s.
“When people start reading the menu, automatically they start talking about themselves or [an] event, party, wedding,” she explained. “We start to interact, to materialize what is being desired, so a relationship begins.”
“It is more than feeding the body. It is feeding the soul.”
A select few of Yulla’s desserts can be found on the Nonna’s Kitchen menu as well as directly from the shop itself and online.
“The best part of my job is meeting people and fulfilling the wishes of trying new tasty and unforgettable moments.”
But she still wanted to stay connected with her Brazilian roots.
“I decided to focus on Brazilian cuisine because it is my essence,” she said.
While she says she appreciates the convenience of American cuisine, cooking and baking mean more than that for her.
“Cooking for me is an art, a party, a joy, fun,” expanded Yulla. “It is more than feeding the body. It is feeding the soul.”
Her most popular dessert options are her Brigadeiros, also called Brazilian truffles, which are traditional bite-sized chocolates. The snacks come in flavors like white chocolate, pistachio, cappuccino, and Nutella.
She continued, “We talk about the important and fundamental things in life, about loving, serving, and giving flavor and joy to every dessert prepared in the belief that meals are a special moment.”
Along with the dessert options, Yulla offers Pão de Queijo (Cheese Bread), Coxinha de Frango (Fried Chicken Drumstick), and a few other savory choices.
“One of my favorite projects has been teaching women to undertake what they love. I believe that [doing] what you love is fulfilling,” she said.
Yulla says that it is so important to do whatever it is that you love to do.
“I learned a lot throughout my life and nothing better than practicing what is known,” she said. “At almost 50 years old, I still feel too young to stop working.”
Drop the Desserts:
In her free time, Yulla spends time reading, watching movies, studying gastronomy, and making cakes. She says that cakes are the area where her art and personality shine brightest.
What she knows well and loves to do is cooking, so she’s pursuing what makes her happy.
“Many women think their dreams are not feasible for different reasons, but look at me, opening a bakery in Spearfish.”