Savor the flavors of Carroll County with a gastronomic journey through its culinary hot spots.

From the authentic Italian delights of Paradiso Ristorante to the cozy comfort of Rocco’s Deli & Market and the sweet treats at JeannieBird Baking Company, discover this county’s unforgettable bites.

Here are several that I have discovered.

A ham and cheese croi’ffle from French Twist Cafe. (Chris Franzoni)

French Twist Café

732 Oklahoma Ave., Sykesville

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Satisfy your sweet and savory cravings at French Twist Cafe in Sykesville, where every sip and bite is a passport to Parisian bliss. Its fresh brewed gourmet coffee, expertly crafted blends and specialty drinks are a delight for caffeine connoisseurs. Bite into authentic French cuisine with a focus on traditional crêpes — with fillings ranging from ham and cheese to Maryland blue crab, there’s something to treat every taste bud. Also, don’t miss their croi’ffle, a croissant-waffle hybrid filled with your choice of bacon, ham and cheese that’s pure indulgence.

The shrimp fra diavolo from Paradiso Ristorante. (Chris Franzoni)

Paradiso Ristorante

20 Distillery Drive, Westminster

At Paradiso Ristorante, every bite tells a tale of Italian tradition since 1992. Dive into their legendary gamberi fra diavolo, a fiery combination of jumbo shrimp in a spicy marinara sauce over linguine, that will leave you craving an encore. And with its charming outdoor patio, Paradiso offers not just a meal, but an experience — an Italian escape right in the heart of downtown Westminster.

Custom macarons from Starry Night Bakery. (Starry Night)

Starry Night Bakery

330 140 Village Road, Westminster

Indulge in a whimsical world of sweetness at Starry Night Bakery, where every treat is a masterpiece crafted with love and a sprinkle of magic. From custom cakes to cookies, macarons and keto delights, its got your cravings covered. With a dash of colorful character in every bite, the bakery’s array of desserts will have you reaching for the sky (and more sweets).

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Smith Island cake from RockSalt Grille. (Chris Franzoni)

RockSalt Grille Restaurant and Raw Bar

65 W. Main St., Westminster

Dive into a sea of flavor at RockSalt Grille Restaurant and Raw Bar, where Westminster’s seafood scene meets its match. Home to Carroll County’s reigning champion crab cake, this gem on Main Street boasts a menu that’s a tantalizing tribute to seafood and steak lovers alike. Soak up the relaxed ambience, sip on signature cocktails or craft beer, and indulge in an extensive raw bar.

Momma Rosemary from Rocco’s Market & Deli. (Chris Franzoni)

Rocco’s Market & Deli

1301 N. Main St., Hampstead

Experience a slice of modern Italy at Rocco’s Market & Deli in Hampstead, where every bite is a taste of la dolce vita. Start with one of their stuffed Italian sandwiches. I recommend their namesake, Rocco’s Sweet Panini, made with sweet soppressata, prosciutto, Genoa salami, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese and pesto mayo on house-seasoned, pressed panini bread. And finish by exploring their market brimming with premium olive oils, sauces, pastas, meats and cheeses.

Crab cakes from Fratelli’s. (Chris Franzoni)

Fratelli’s Italian & Seafood

2315 Hanover Pike A, Hampstead

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Get set for a flavor sensation at Fratelli’s Italian & Seafood in Hampstead, where the extensive menu features homemade pasta, fresh seafood, and mouth-watering chicken dishes from classic shrimp scampi to chicken parmesan. Pair your meal with a glass of chianti or explore the restaurant’s fine wine selection to choose your own Italian adventure. Pro tip — don’t overlook a local favorite: the irresistibly enormous crab cakes.

French apple pie from Baugher’s. This delicious apple pie is handmade from scratch using Baugher’s homegrown local apples, raisins and topped with icing! (Chris Franzoni)

Baugher’s Fruit Market

289 W. Main St., Westminster

Step into Baugher’s Fruit Market for a slice of old-fashioned charm served with a side of country delight. For decades, this market has been a haven for fresh produce straight from their very own orchards. Enjoy homemade fruit pies, apple cider donuts and apple fritters. Delve into their bakery section, where you can buy a whole French apple pie. It’s country charm served fresh daily.

Chicken lollipops and Jamaican flank steak from the Liquid Library. (Chris Franzoni)

The Liquid Library

84 E. Main St., Westminster

The Liquid Library, where comfort cuisine meets culinary innovation. Nestled on Main Street in downtown Westminster, this wood-fired kitchen delights with a diverse menu for every appetite. Guests are welcomed with warmth and hospitality as the friendly staff crafts mouthwatering cocktails and dishes. Don’t miss out on the bloody mary charcuterie or the banana bread mai tai, adding an extra layer of flavor to your experience.

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A vanilla ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles from the Big Chill. (Chris Franzoni)

The Big Chill and Grill

2977 A, Baltimore Blvd., Finksburg

Chill out and chow down at The Big Chill & Grill on Route 140 in Finksburg. Beat the heat with milkshakes, malts, floats and more, while diving into hand-dipped and soft-serve ice cream flavors. It’s the coolest spot in town for a sweet treat.

Chocolate mousse with fresh raspberries and raspberry liqueur in a Belgian chocolate cup from JeannieBird Baking Company. (Jeannie Bird)

JeannieBird Baking Company

42 W. Main St., Westminster

Stop into Westminster’s sweetest spot: JeannieBird Baking Company. Founded from a farmers’ market stall in 2008, it blossomed into a Main Street icon in 2014, thanks to founder Jeannie Vogel’s dedication and passion. Though, tragically, she died in 2016, her spirit lives on through her vision with love and butter in every delight.

Chris Franzoni is a Baltimore native, resident, food fanatic, and “Eater-in-Chief” of @EatMoreBeMore, which he started nine years ago with two goals — eating his way through the city and shining a positive light on the Baltimore-area restaurant and hospitality scene.

Chris Franzoni contributes content about local food and dining to The Baltimore Banner.

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