Food & Drink

The Sweet Life

Local entrepreneurs keep it sweet.

Trisha’s Almond Toffee | While both working in merchandising at Abercrombie & Fitch in Columbus, OH, Brooke and Jordan Russ launched Trisha’s Almond Toffee on the side. Then, last year, when the couple moved to Maryland for Jordan’s job at Under Armour, they added a bit of Baltimore to their small-batch business. “We buy local as much as possible,” says Brooke, who sells her creative confections online, as well as at the Fells Point Farmers’ Market, Highlandtown Gallery, and Coffee Coffee in Bel Air. “The nuts come from Jeppi Nut in Lutherville, and we try to use Domino Sugar.” In addition to putting a Baltimore touch on the toffee (named for Jordan’s dear aunt Trisha), the candy is based on a traditional recipe for English toffee with one important difference. “Every other toffee maker out there only puts nuts on top,” says Brooke. “The fact that we have almonds in every bite is what sets us apart.”

Charm School Chocolates | Fresh from receiving his mechanical engineering degree at Carnegie Mellon University, Josh Rosen worked in Cleveland with the world’s largest welding company. And he was miserable. “I was bored out of my skull,” recalls the McDonogh School graduate. On a lark, the lifelong baker, who used a drill in lieu of a beater blade while baking in college, took a cooking class—and loved it. “One day my parents said, ‘Why not go to culinary school?’” Soon after, Rosen headed to the Culinary Institute of America, where he specialized in baking and pastries, eventually moving back to Baltimore to start Charm School Chocolates. His non-dairy, vegan-friendly bars, inspired by a short stint working in a vegan chocolate shop, are sourced from the Maya Mountains of Belize and are available at The Wine Source, Atwater’s, and Whole Foods Market in Mt. Washington. “Belize has an incredibly balanced bean,” says the chocolatier. “It’s fruity with lingering chocolate notes.”