My Candy Bar Business


*You can now purchase my candy bars and marshmallows at http://www.bonbonbar.com/
So, I’m going for it. Or at least, testing the waters. I’m taking some time to see if I can develop a candy bar business. Nailing down recipes, working out production processes, and navigating the logistical, financial and legal matters.

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone gave me a solid foundation in pastries and confections, and I’ve been working professionally and independently on different kinds of desserts since graduation. And nothing has captivated me more than the potential of candy bars. And not just any candy bars… Candy bars that are made with fresh, quality ingredients: no high-fructose corn syrup, no synthetic flavors, no artificial sweeteners, and no food coloring. And while I love things like simple caramel, peanuts, and nougat, there’s so much more that can be done!

My bars will taste like the fresh ingredients that they’re made of, not like sugar or chemicals. I wouldn’t put anything in my bars that I wouldn’t eat. I compulsively read ingredient lists on food packages now, and I just can’t bring myself to eat, much less buy, so many food products that are out there. When an ingredient list for something as simple as a cookie is as big as my palm and contains oils instead of butter, I just can’t do it… no matter how hungry I am. Of course, I know why they do it — to preserve the food and to reduce costs.

I’m aiming for a shelf-life of about two weeks, like most artisan chocolatiers, and to give you the opportunity to eat a dessert that makes you feel good and adds fun to your day. I don’t see many other people doing what I want to do, so I figure that I may as do it myself.

So, what bars am I going to offer? The Caramel Bar. The Malted Bar. The S’More Bar. The Coconut Bar. They’re all in, but are being minorly or majorly tweaked. I have six other main contenders, and loads of back-up ideas. You’ll be hearing lots about them.

I’ll be blogging as much as I can about the process. I’m a big believer in blogs — I’ve learned so much about food from people who are generous enough to share their experiences and experiments that I feel a need to contribute back to that. I’m taking a close look at a ton of recipes and techniques, and experimenting a lot. Although this is a relatively focused project, I’m working with just about every ingredient in the pastry arsenal, and learning more about them with every thing that I make. And I want to post about that so that others can learn, too.

Plus, there’s the feedback bonus of blogs — please let me know what you think every step of the way!

15 Responses to “My Candy Bar Business”

  1. sam Says:

    I am first in line for your homemade Twix Bar please
    good luck!

    I watch with baited breath

  2. Martha C Says:

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to try one. Let us know when and where we can begin to purchase your candy bars. 🙂

  3. McAuliflower Says:

    This is exciting!
    I’m interested in hearing the set up logistics for commercial kitchens and such too. Congrats.

  4. Paula Says:

    I came across your blog a few weeks ago and read every post. I love your passion, and it is this passion that is going to make you a huge sucess
    in your candy bar business. What a great idea!! The chocolate bars look
    amazing.
    Best of luck

    Paula

  5. Susan Says:

    Good luck, Nina! I can’t wait to try one…or 12…! I know lots of chocolate lovers too at work, so we can all be your first customers. How exciting for you, and congratulations! Just be sure to make them available in Santa Monica! Can’t wait to read all about it!

  6. hilary Says:

    Awesome! I look forward to trying them. Particularly the one with passion fruit.

  7. catherine Says:

    Congrats and best of luck to you, Nina! I can’t wait to try your indulgences!

  8. Lianne Says:

    What a wonderful idea.
    Please let us know where to buy them.
    I live in Petaluma and expect that Petaluma Market would be interested in giving your bars a try.

  9. Nina Says:

    Sam – Cool! I admit that I am doing a lot of Twix eating as research. Part of me covets a “Twix machine.”

    Martha – Thank you! I sure will. 🙂

    McAuliflower – Yeah… the commercial kitchen. That is going to be quite a hurdle… especially one well-suited for chocolate work.

    Paula – Thank you! 🙂 I’m so glad that you’re enjoying my blog, and I hope that you’ll soon be able to taste the chocolates!

    Susan – Thank you! Just the thought of first customers is so exciting. 🙂

    hilary – Thanks! I love passion fruit. I’m trying to keep it in only one bar so that one flavor doesn’t dominate too much… but it may pop up in two. 🙂

    catherine – Thank you! Hope you’ll like them. 🙂

    Lianne – Thanks for the tip — independent markets will probably be a main target for me. Aside from the higher supply that they’d entail, large chain markets also seem to charge “slotting fees” for a company to place its products near the register. According to a book called Candy Freak, slotting fees are tens of thousands of dollars!

  10. Gerald Says:

    Good luck with this venture Nina, I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    Did you ever get a chance to check out Economy Candy in NYC’s LES while you were here?
    http://www.economycandy.com/

    Also, there are a lot of great offerings in Canada that I like to bring back each time I get the chance – Aeros, Coffee Crunch, Malteasers

  11. Nina Says:

    Thank you, Gerald!

    And no… I had no idea about Economy Candy! I went to Dylan’s Candy Bar, but something tells me that I would have gotten more and spent less at Economy Candy. 🙂 Good thing they deliver… They have a lot of candies that I’ve only read about, and some that are new to me.

    And I’m determined to come up with a killer coffee bar. It would almost take some MG magic to approach an Aero bar, though… 🙂

  12. KandyX Says:

    I love your idea, why not stop by my club and sign up – its free and members like you are what we really need. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR BUSINESS!

    KandyX

    PS If you devise any good candies I could always add them to my candy library for my visitors to see. 🙂

  13. Irene Says:

    I just discovered your blog–it’s great! Your knowledge and taste are exquisite. I’m especially into your candy bars. I have always wanted access to candy bars made w/ high quality ingredients and no weirdness like corn syrup. I’ve also tried making some myself, but haven’t the chocolate/candy making/tempering techniques that you’ve mastered.
    Good luck w/ the bar business and keep us posted when we can finally buy some!

  14. Nina Says:

    Irene – Thank you so much! I’m glad that we think alike about candy bars! I’ll certainly keep everyone posted — there’s still so much to work out.

  15. Candy Bar Days Are Here Again… And Possibly For You - Sweet Napa Says:

    […] That’s another benefit of this summery reprieve — I’ve thought more about the bars and how they could be better. The perspective of time has cleared up a lot of issues. I’m committed more than ever to fresh, wholesome ingredients with clean flavors, and the revamped versions will reflect that. (Edit on 10/11) I just wanted to be more clear about my ingredients. I am using as many organic and/or local ingredients as I can find, especially from farmers markets. Right now, organic ingredients include cream, walnuts, hazelnuts, malt syrup, coffee (also fair trade and shade grown), strawberries, oranges, cinnamon, and ginger. Hopefully, that list will get even longer. […]

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