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Volume 4, Issue 97  |  December 3, 2019


Take Five: Meet Betsy Thagard, founder and owner of B. toffee

By AMY SENK

One last thing to be thankful for: That Betsy Thagard has been making B. toffee for a decade. The rich, crumbling candy, sold in sleek, see-through canisters, first began appearing at small local shops and popup stores and now is shipped nationwide. How did a child who loved anything milk chocolate grow up and become the Toffee Queen of Newport Beach? I caught up with Betsy to find out.

Take Five Betsy Thagard

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Kait McKay Photography

Betsy Thagard, chocolate lover and founder/owner of B. toffee

Q: B. toffee celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Can you tell me about how your business started and what’s changed in the past decade?

A: I grew up watching my mom and dad cook in the kitchen. True to our Greek heritage, my Yia Yia and mom were always whipping up Greek dishes. It was then, at a young age, that my passion for cooking and entertaining developed and flourished. Over time, I wanted to create something beautiful and unique to gift to family and friends during the holidays. B. toffee started as a sweet treat for gifts and road trips with my mom and sisters, and eventually evolved into a successful business. With my friends’ and family’s encouragement and support, I launched B. toffee in 2009 when our last child went away to college. We are now celebrating our 10-year anniversary! At the time of launching B. toffee, I went to one of my favorite local specialty markets in Newport Beach, A Market and introduced it for the first time. The executive chef loved the packaging and the product so much they wanted to share it with their customers. It still adorns their shelves 10 years later. As we continue to grow, I’m thrilled to say we work with Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach, Dean & DeLuca, Hi-Time Wine Cellars, and many other retail stores, resorts and hotels. We serve Fortune 500 companies as well. B. toffee offers custom gifting options including corporate and wedding gifts. PIMCO, Edwards Lifesciences, Goldman Sachs Group, Southwest Airlines and Verizon Communications are among the many corporate companies B. toffee serves. Expanding our reach has been a dream come true!

Q: Is your recipe a family recipe or something you created by yourself, and how many versions did you try before you considered it perfect and market ready?

A: I began making toffee, as it is not only delicious but also beautiful. I experimented with different recipes until I came up with my perfect toffee that has the ideal consistency and quality of ingredients. It’s forgiving on your teeth and doesn’t feel like it will pull out your fillings. Choosing pecan nuts over the traditional almonds was also a must as they are my favorite nut. 

Q: What’s the most popular gift item you see ordered this time of year, and how many pounds of toffee will you be shipping out over the holiday season?

A: Our larger one-pound options wrapped in our sleek, sophisticated signature canisters, or custom Kraft boxes are our most popular items for the holidays. Corporate clients love having their company logo included on the custom wrap. We are shipping thousands of pounds of toffee every week during this busy holiday season. In addition to the deliciousness of our product, our packaging sets us apart. Our sleek, sophisticated clear canisters draw customers to our product and once that happens it is the taste, quality and consistency of our toffee that brings them back time and time again. We recently won the GOLD Award for “Top Toffee” and “Best Packaging” at the Taste Awards in San Francisco.

Q: Do you ever consider adding new products or candies?

A: We are so excited with our partnership with Williams-Sonoma the past several years and have created an exclusive peppermint toffee for them during the holidays in a white- and dark-chocolate version. We also create fun recipes you can make with our B. toffee. They are featured on our B. toffee Blog and YouTube Channel.

Q: What’s the typical day like in the life of a candy maker?

A: I must start my day with a hot latte! Go for a morning walk and then check a few emails before heading into my office/commercial kitchen. I’ve got a great team of people that work on the production and operation side of things that I couldn’t do this without – it’s truly a team effort. I then may meet with clients to discuss a corporate or wedding event. I’m so fortunate to bring my love of design, culinary and sales into one place.

Editor’s note: To buy toffee or inquire about corporate gifts, visit www.btoffee.com, or call 949.722.9001.

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Amy Senk is a longtime resident of Corona del Mar and a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.

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