Cheesecake by the Spoonful

Appears in the December 2023 issue.

By Peter Gianopulos

A treat from Noelli’s Cheesecake

Every so often some curious shopper will wander into Noelli’s Cheesecake at the Fox Valley Mall, and stop dead in their tracks, looking dazed, hungry, and confused.

The sign out front clearly states Noelli’s sells “cheesecake,” doesn’t it? So why is everyone scooping creamy goodness from a cup? And why are the husband-and-wife team of Noel and Michael Ferrara handing out spoons (not forks) and encouraging people to enjoy their cheesecake on the go? “We get a lot of questions from new customers,” Michael says. “Are you serving cheesecake-flavored ice cream? No, we’re not. Fro-yo? Definitely not.”

It’s cheesecake, folks. A velvety cheesecake mousse piped into a cup. It looks like a parfait, layered with crunchy bits—perhaps crushed graham crackers, Oreos, butter cookies, and the like—and topped with your choice of various fruit compotes or pieces of candy.

Noel has been busy perfecting her signature no-bake cheesecake recipe since she was 16. Whenever she served it to friends, they would offer cold, hard cash for her to whip one up for their next party. But it wasn’t until her husband, a serial entrepreneur, gently pushed her to open up her own place that she took the leap. “When we decided to serve my cheesecake by the cup instead of a slice, it was as if a very bright light went on in my head,” says Noel says. “This is it! I never felt more sure of anything.”

Try a menu staple (like Twix or strawberry) or one of her seasonal creations, which include cannoli, eggnog, and hot cocoa during the holidays.

Looking to fancy up your dessert offerings? You can order full cheesecakes, with 72 hours’ notice. Or opt for a variety of cheesecake shooters served in three-ounce squares.


Photo: Noel Ferrara