With a serious commitment to crafting sustainably produced chocolate while leaving as minimal a footprint as possible, Laurie is producing some of the most delicious and mouthwatering bars we've had the pleasure of enjoying. Get to know the woman behind the cacao magic!
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
The company ethos of both Askinosie and Taza chocolate had a big impact on us. I adore chocolate, I love a challenge, and I believe in standing with the underdog. We were - and continue to be - inspired by the notion of crafting delicious, ethically, and socially responsible chocolate.
Tell Us About Your Products.
Our chocolate is made with two organic ingredients - directly traded cacao beans and vegan sugar. Our current line-up of single origin bars come from Guatemala, Tanzania, Belize, and Dominican Republic. We also make a few inclusion bars which are listed on our website.
What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You?
It’s like being part of a sacred dance between science, art, and activism. It means everything we do is done with deliberation and intent - every part of the process passes through our hands.
What Is Your Favorite Small-Batch Treat?
This may sound contrary coming from a chocolate maker but I’m crazy for Pittsburgh Ice Cream Company’s Landlocked Vanilla. It’s no ordinary vanilla - not at all. They take vanilla beans and steep them in Wiggle Whiskey’s Landlocked - a rum-like spirit made from Pennsylvania buckwheat honey. It’s pretty amazing. (Their Dulcinea chocolate flavor is pretty awesome too!)
What Drew You To Food?
Coming from a large Italian family, I understood at an early age that food and love are intertwined. When the aprons were tied on, you knew something wonderful was about to happen. Working in a kitchen fills me with joy, and tying my apron keeps me tethered to a long line of strong and beautiful women who instilled this sentiment in me.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
We do have something special in the works for the upcoming holiday season, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
My daughter made Pad Gra Pow. Delicious.
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
Mott Green, co-founder of the Grenada Chocolate Company. I would have loved to meet him.
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other Artisans?
Find your true North and stay the course. It’s good advice.
What Other Local Food Artisans Or Chefs Do You Admire?
Jessica Shoemaker, pastry chef and owner of Beaver Bagel, Beaver, PA. She is a rare and talented soul.
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
It would be all the people I love gathered around a table sharing wine, fresh bread, olive oil, heirloom tomatoes, hot peppers, prosciutto, Genoa salami, and a big salad of sweet field greens. We’d all enjoy a slice of my best friend’s apple pie and later, finish the evening with La Prima’s cappuccino and our 70% Dominican Republic bar.
Favorite Restaurant Or Food Experience?
We’re lucky to have a variety of pretty fabulous restaurants in our area, but one stand out experience was a farm to table dinner with chef Jason Benegasi, owner of Biba in Beaver, PA. Something magical happens when you combine great food, wine, and friends together outdoors.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside Of The Kitchen?
I’m a year round reader/book hoarder and a summertime container gardener.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?