New candy companies continue to surface, in part because of the relatively low cost of entry and a local culture that appreciates great confectioneries.
Hope Klocker and her sister Jule Vranian started Sweet Jules, based in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
While the company’s handling and shipping is done out of St. Joseph, its caramels are manufactured in North Minneapolis, where Sweet Jules rents space from Kindred Kitchens, an incubator for food-based businesses. “It’s a great resource for start-up businesses,” says Klocker.
Klocker and Vranian grew up working in their family’s restaurants in St. Joseph, Kay’s Kitchen and LaPlayette, but caramels were their favorite. “Every Christmas an aunt would send us caramels,” says Klocker. “My sister and I always said someday we are going to make these caramels and sell them.” Vranian, who worked as a pastry chef instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in Mendota Heights, refined the recipe, and now their caramels are offered in nine flavors including bananas Foster, Sicilian orange, café Italiano, and salted.
The sisters have two part-time employees year-round, and their staff increases to about four employees during the high season. They sell mostly online and to stores in Minneapolis, Klocker says: Sugar Sugar, Salty Tart in the Midtown Global Market, Kitchen Window, and France 44 Cheese Shop are among their customers. “We are growing fast,” she notes with pride. “Our product is a high-end artisan candy made in a small factory with the highest-quality ingredients. We use only cane sugar. We use the best butter and cream. We don’t use any stabilizers or additives.”
Article by: RICK NELSON
, Star Tribune
Updated: December 19, 2012 - 3:20 PM
Local chocolatiers and candymakers are making your job easy. And delicious.SWEET AS SISTERS
When siblings Jule Vranian and Hope Klocker were kids, they cherished the box of homemade caramels that their aunt Rosie Gleich made each December. "They were always so delicious, it was the most memorable part of Christmas," said Klocker. That reminiscence inspired Sweet Jules Caramels. Produced in north Minneapolis, the sisters' lusciously buttery treats are infused with classic flavor pairings -- fleur de sel, vanilla bean, dark chocolate -- and some less-orthodox but utterly irresistible ingredient ideas, including Sicilian orange, pretzel/beer (using an ale from Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis) and caramel apple.
Not surprisingly, I make the majority of the edible gifts I give, but I also like to hunt for unique, great tasting treats that others make. There are so many choices in catalogs and on shelves at specialty and gift shops it can be overwhelming. And most of them really aren’t worth the calories. I [...] More »
DARA MOSKOWITZ GRUMDAHL
Sweet Jules Gifts—a company consisting of a pair of sisters, Hope Klocker and Jules Vranian. One bite and you can tell that these are the caramels of a professional talent—they’re so creamy, so rich, so echoingly caramel-flavored.