Chocolate Twist founder Kate Coffey reinvents traditional favorites
Riverside, Ill.-based chocolatier launches 'Twist of the Month' box subscription.
Launched in 2011, Chocolate Twist is known for its hand-crafted buttery caramels, sauces and quirky chocolate bars that always entice. Think Cheese It White Chocolate Candy Bar, the cheeky named Go Fudge Yourself and to-swoon-for Burnt Toast Caramels, just to name a few.
Riverside, Ill.-based Chocolate Twist sells locally in Chicago at stores like Treasure Island and The Goddess and Grocer.
The company also recently launched a box subscription called “Twist of the Month.” With its sweet and whimsical presentation, recipients are reminded each month that they’re special and deserving of one of life’s simple pleasures.
The company’s philosophy is simple: “Make tasty food, make it approachable, and make it fun,” says Chocolate Twist’s founder Kate Coffey. Also known as Queen of the Twist, Coffey attributes her love of everything chocolate back to her childhood.
Captivated by both of her grandmothers’ love of cooking and baking, Coffey knew what she wanted to do with her life from a very early age. Watching her beloved grandmothers carry on conversations, laugh with family, enjoy a little wine and never break a sweat, Coffey was hooked. And hungry.
She received her Baking and Pastry Certificate at Kendall College, Chicago. After several years of work in the food and non-profit sectors, Coffey finally decided to listen to her heart. Named for Coffey’s favorite ingredient and a nod to the meandering streets of her hometown, Riverside, Chocolate Twist was born.
It’s not usual for the candy maker to be inspired by everyday food. The company’s Burnt Toast Caramels, for example, were created after she’d burned some toast beyond recognition. Coffey thought the nutty taste of the toast would be the perfect complement to the buttery flavor of Chocolate Twist’s Epic Sea Salt Caramel.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one kind of candy, what would it be?
I am obsessed with so many different candies that it would be impossible to make an intelligent decision. So in a perfect world I’d create a mash-up candy bar with Butterfingers, gummy bears, black licorice and our Saigon Cinnamon Peanut Butter Cup.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a ballerina and a teacher and a cookie maker. Didn’t everyone?
What issues concern you most about the confectionery industry and why?
My concern about the confectionery industry is that we’re essentially peddling sweets, but sometimes I think it’s absolutely necessary for adults to indulge in amazing and delicious treats. So perhaps we can continue our efforts to offer a balanced point of view of everything in moderation.
What’s the last book you’ve read?
I recently finished Where’d You Go Bernadette?, a funny, smart story about the unraveling of an overextended woman.
What is your pet peeve?
Rudeness, lack of generosity, bigotry, fruit that doesn’t live up to expectations.
If given the chance to choose anyone, whom would you like to collaborate with?
Gloria Steinem. I’d like to make a candy bar with all Ms. Steinem’s favorite flavors, then sell them all and donate the proceeds to feminist causes.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Do it, baby.” My dad said those immortal words to me when I was deciding if I should start Chocolate Twist. Empowering to say the least!