I believe that Fig & Kindle is somehow a collection of designed accidents, that is, a certain combination of meant-to-do’s gone wrong and didn’t-mean-t0-do’s gone right. Somehow this works and can be mashed up into the somewhat coherent collection of ideas and images that is Fig & Kindle.
That said. I wasn’t going to post anything today. You see, I am pretty terrible at this blogging thing and tend to be the person who will not go out of the way to communicate if there is nothing of utter importance to say. So, when we are still knee-deep in new packaging ideas and test batches for our holiday sweets I prefer to work and not post. BUT. Today’s sugar accident was just too good.
I was in desperate need of chocolate this afternoon. When this hits I usually go for the brownies that we always have sitting around here (benefits of reworking brownie recipes for Fig & Kindle). But due to a sneaky roommate, they had vanished. No worries, fudge sauce and ice cream it is. We have had a lovely batch of matcha-ginger ice cream sitting in the freezer for a week that was begging to be eaten. But fudge sauce was not going to happen with some kind of creamy substrate. Cream? Used up in this weekends testing for caramels. Milk? reserved for cereal. Half and half? Two tables spoons left in the carton in a standoff with the roommate to see who is going to happen upon the empty bottle and will have to pay for the new one. (what? Like YOU don’t do that? )
But we had butter. We always have butter in this place. So in the butter went with the chocolate…looking good. But what do you know? When that sauce hit the cold ice cream it hardened right up on contact! Just like that creepy “magic shell” stuff that they sell alongside the ice cream cones. After a little research online I found that homemade magic shell is no secret and apparently people have been doing it for years. Recipes usually call for chocolate along with a variety of different fats– butter and vegetable oil or coconut oil. I’m sure those recipes are much smoother and tastier than mine. But if you’ve got some butter and chocolate try tossing 5 parts chocolate together with two parts butter and melt it down. Pour over some cold treat and you’ve got a magic shell of sorts.
Yes, things are happening and quickly both in terms of Fig & Kindle getting a little more online exposure as well as in our kitchen. We have been hard at work the past few weeks revising business plans in order to better steer our company in the right direction. While our brittle candy has always been our signature, we have been baking up a storm, playing with caramel, cookies, and lots and lots of ice cream.
Did you know Fig & Kindle started out as an ice cream and bakery biz? Yes, we were originally modeled after my childhood experiences in Massachusetts frequenting classic New England creameries and bakeries along with a magical place called Hebert’s Candy Mansion. Now anyone who grew up in central MA will tell you about Hebert’s and it’s near-mythical presence. The original Hebert’s factory is located in a vast, stone mansion on a hill in my hometown of Shrewsbury. I adored this place. It looked more like a haunted house than a cheery mansion. Upon entering you would be greeted by creaky wooden floors, stained glass lamps hanging from towering ceilings, and air that hung thick with the smell of penuche fudge and chocolate. The mansion kept its various rooms and winding hallways, stuffing bookshelves, side tables, and staircases with trays and baskets of simply wrapped, freshly made sweets. Sounds like some good shop design to me.
My mother used to take us kids to the mansion at least once a month to visit their ice cream bar where you could get a scoop of ice cream in a silver cup and proceed down a table lined with tins of various nuts, sauces, fruit, and candies to make a custom sundae. I was a rather typical child, favoring chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with strawberries and chocolate sprinkles. Like to think in my ice cream making as an adult, that my tastes have diversified. Here is a sneak peak at a little experiment we’ve been working on: allspice-cinnamon ice cream with herbed shortbread sticks. The shortbread is still a work in progress, a recipe being developed to feature various herbs, flowers, and chocolates, hopefully to be introduced to our etsy shop for the holidays.
People sometimes ask me about the name Fig & Kindle, to which, sadly these days I have to battle relations to that odd I’m-not-a-book gadget upon which tech-savvy people do their reading. The story behind our name begins with my borderline obsession with fresh figs; As anyone who knows me will tell you, I turn into a messy-face child when I get my hands on a carton of black mission figs. Shamefully, instead of gracefully savoring those purple jewels like the lady I should be I greedily grab them up and proceed to eat them like a crazed chipmunk, attempting to take the smallest bites (to prolong the enjoyment of course) while simultaneously not removing the fig from my face (for the irrational fear that if I don’t hunker over my treasure it will be stolen by bandits).
Figs are warm and cozy, comfortable yet sophisticated, familiar and gourmet at once. This is a quality I aim to achieve with everything that we produce. The word “kindle,” as put so elegantly by the dictionary, means “to become lighted up, bright, or glowing, as the sky at dawn or the eyes with ardor”…. yup, that’s about spot on. Fig & Kindle is about tapping into the nostalgia of classic candies while presenting them in a way so that even adults approach it with that wide-eyed amazement that children get upon entering candy stores.
Speaking of which, I will hint at this time that we are up and working again on a new set of candies. Well, actually, its more like a set that has been in the works for years now that we wanted to get right before delivering it to you! Keep checking back for more sneak peaks (and some new packaging).