Meet a Local Mondays: Sarah Hart // Alma Chocolate
Welcome to 'Meet A Local Monday.' Our very own weekly interview series where we
spotlight local artisans from a different city each week. For our first piece, we headed to
Portland, OR to visit the founder and Head Confectioner, Sarah Hart of Alma Chocolate.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role at Alma?
Well, I founded Alma almost 10 years ago now! It's still a small business, and for a long time I was doing every step of the process, from R&D to bon bon dipping to working in the shop. You have to when it's growing. Now I spend a lot of my time on business
development and strategic planning, although I miss being in the kitchen every single day. It's getting in there and inventing new flavors that keeps me going, and I try to make sure that the creative aspect that lead me to start down this crazy path doesn't get lost in the business stuff. Which Alma treat wins you over every time?
Our pistachio toffee. It's such a perfect combination of salty and sweet and crunchy, and topped with really good chocolate....it's still impossible for me to work an event and not steal bites of the toffee samples. But our newest treat, the Hazelnut Crunch Bar with
Jacobsen sea salt is giving it a serious run for favorite child status. Your most frequented Portland foodie spot?
It's really hard to beat a dirty martini and steak frites at Laurelhurst Market...unless it's late, and in that case a manhattan and shrimp toast at Expatriate is the answer.
Which Featured March Ingredient would you be most intrigued to try? Pickled okra! Despite being a chocolatier (or maybe because), I definitely crave salty snacks. Plus I bet these would be great in a bloody mary.
Tell us about a unique ingredient that you like to use.
We make a bon bon with star anise, and I love how in chocolate, it loses the licorice edge and becomes a new flavor entirely. But what I am really saying is that I think chocolate is my favorite unique ingredient. Every single origin or variation of percentage gives me a fresh palate of flavors to work with, and it's my goal to enhance and draw attention to the chocolate with the ingredients I add, rather than masking them.
Favorite Willy Wonka Character? Charlie!