Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Little Flower Candy Co

Little Flower Candy CompanyThings are looking up in Los Angeles. More and more small confectioners are opening storefronts. Last year it was Valerie Confections, where I’ve been picking up teacakes and petit fours along with their toffees and truffles.

I was so pleased to see that Little Flower Candy Company also opened a cafe in Pasadena at the beginning of the year. Since my whale watching trip was canceled on Saturday morning, my husband and I went over for some lunch and sweets.

They only make candy during the week, so there wasn’t anything to see in the kitchen except our lunch being made. I had a vegetarian sandwich with a tempeh base, olive tapenade, sprouts and avocado on a hearty whole wheat bread. I also had an excellent fresh cup of coffee roasted by City Bean Coffee.  My husband had a turkey and cheese sandwich on the same bread and we both got super-garlicky and salty pickles. 

Little Flower Candy Company HoneycombAfter lunch we browsed their selection of fresh candies that include Little Flower’s famous caramels and marshmallows, but I wanted to try something new. So I picked up a package of the stunningly gorgeous Honeycomb and some Marshmallow Puffs.

Honeycomb is pretty simple stuff, the recipe is easy, most call for something like this:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • The first three are boiled together to 300 degrees, then removed from the heat and the baking soda is added. (Read more here.)

    The trick with Honeycomb is working quickly and of course having the benefit of low humidity. The fellow behind the counter said what was special about Little Flower’s is that they actually use a bit of honey in there too.

    Little Flower Candy Company Honeycomb

    It smells wonderful. Sweet and a touch like honey and a bit like cotton candy and butter.

    The look of it is also lovely, with the glossy sheen on top and all the nooks & crannies.

    The taste was a little disappointing. The crunch was good and it dissolved well. The honey and burnt sugar flavors were wonderful but towards the end it became a bit of a ball of soft sugar with a very strong taste of salt, metal and baking soda.

    I was so disappointed. But I gave it another try and found the trick was to eat a smaller bite, not a whole piece at a time. But if I did put too much in my mouth I’d just spit out the unpleasant dreck at the end. (I also found it gave me the burps later on, just like soda does.)

    Marshmallow PuffsThis was the big surprise of the whole thing, while I like honeycomb, I didn’t like theirs. And while I don’t usually like marshmallows, I liked these!

    The Marshmallow Puffs sold at the cafe are not like the gourmet, handmade marshmallows that Little Flower Candy Co. is already known for. What attracted me to these first of all was the packaging and the curious cross-branding. The narrow funnel shaped bag is in red, white & blue, in a rather retro design.

    What I found so quirky and adorable about it was that the brand on there, besides Little Flower Candy Co. is Melissa’s, a Los Angeles-based produce company. (I have no idea why, but hey, I’m not going to argue.) They’re actually made in Belgium (not a place I knew did marshmallows.) But packaging & origin aside, what got me to buy the bag was the flavor assortment, Strawberry, Vanilla and Orange Blossom. I tasted one before I bought it and it’s divine. It’s not orange juicy, it’s more of a floral essence that has some strong bergamot overtones.

    It reminds me of honey and flowers and Earl Grey tea and the wonderful marshmallows that make up the bulk of See’s Scotchmallows.

    Marshmallow Puffs

    The marshmallows are all natural and have no artificial colors. The little puffs are extruded drops. They’re rather firm and latexy, but still have a good puff that melts in the mouth.

    Strawberry is fragrant and sweet and reminds me of angel food cake and cotton candy.

    Vanilla isn’t as sweet as I’d feared and tastes, well, like a marshmallow.

    The clerk was kind enough to pick out a package that had a preponderance of orange blossom in it, so I only had three vanilla and five strawberry. The rest are the divine orange blossom. They don’t sell them on the website, but I was told if you called in an order they’d sell them to you. But you may also see them in grocery stores that carry Melissa’s produce as well. (I’d guess look at the more upscale ones like Gelson’s or Bristol Farm style chains.)

    Here’s the review at Colorado Chow that got me off my duff and over there. Little Flower is known for their excellent artisan caramels & marshmallows. I’ve only reviewed the Lemon, Vanilla and Salted caramels on the blog, and can recommend them highly.

    Little Flower Candy Co.
    1422 W. Colorado Blvd
    Pasadena, CA 91105
    (626) 304-4800

    Related Candies

    1. Parkside Candy Sponge Candy
    2. GudFud Stuffed Marshmallows
    3. Melster Marshmallow Eggs
    4. Littlejohn Caramel Marshmallows
    5. Artisan Marshmallows: Plush Puffs
    Name: Small World Chocolates: Select Origin
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Little Flower Candy Co
    Place Purchased: Little Flower Candy Co. Cafe (Pasadena)
    Price: $5.00 & $4.00
    Size: 2 ounces & 5.29 ounces
    Calories per ounce: unknown & 94
    Categories: Hard Candy, Marshmallow, United States, Belgium, All Natural, Los Angeles

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:43 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

    Comments
    1. yes, i love this place. after reading about it here: http://www.oneforthetable.com/oftt/articles/my-dumb-luck-3.html
      i’ve gone several times and can’t get enough of those marshmellows!

      Comment by charb08 on 2/13/08 at 5:46 am #
    2. oh, i wish i’d read this post before i went to LA a few weeks ago! we actually did go here, and i bought my sister in law some of the marshmallows, and my niece a lollypop. but had i known about some of the things you talk about here, i would have purchased those too! it was such a lovely little shop. i brought one of my 15 month old sons, and they couldn’t have been nicer to him.

      and i had a yummy (apparently vegan) cupcake.

      Comment by pam on 3/19/09 at 10:16 am #

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