History of Hard Candy

History of Hard Candy

The history of hard candy is a sweet tale that stretches back centuries. The origins of hard candy can be traced to ancient civilizations where early confectioners boiled sugar and honey to create primitive forms of candy. Today, hard candy remains a beloved treat worldwide, enjoyed for its nostalgic appeal and wide variety of flavors.
June 06, 2024 — Krysta Bea Jackson
Display of chocolate bars from Sugar Love Chocolates

Update for Sugar Love

Woah... what a year, huh? I was thankful to have July mostly off (I did cook for and go to the weekly Tuesday market), August was filled with recovery (what do I do now? How will Sugar Love survive this devastation in revenue? etc) and now September will be the month of planning for the holidays!
September 01, 2020 — Krysta Bea Jackson
Shipping boxes in front of a red brick wall

Curbside Pick-up! A COVID-19 special

At Sugar Love, we've always offered shipping across the country and into Canada. In fact, way back in 2015, we were only an online shop for some time. So during this unprecedented time of social distancing, quarantining and plain ol' home-bodyness, we're already set up to fulfill those orders.

What is new to us though, is offering curbside pick-up for the Reno Tahoe area! Read more for dates and hours available.

March 26, 2020 — Krysta Bea Jackson
The creation story behind our Strawberry Balsamic Truffle

The creation story behind our Strawberry Balsamic Truffle

At Sugar Love Chocolates, the strawberry balsamic truffle remains one of our most popular confections in the store and will always be one of my (many) favorites since it was the first chocolate puzzle I solved.
Chocolatier versus Chocolate maker

Chocolatier versus Chocolate maker

The terms "chocolatier" and "chocolate maker" seem like they might be the same profession. Sugar Love's head chocolatier, Krysta Bea Jackson, explains the differences between the two in this short article.
February 17, 2020 — Krysta Bea Jackson
Origin Story of Sugar Love

Origin Story of Sugar Love

Much like your other favorite super heroes, Sugar Love also has an origin story or two! Here we share the stories behind the three biggest questions we get asked at Sugar Love.
September 26, 2019 — Krysta Bea Jackson
Introducing our newest product: Hot Fudge Sauce!

Introducing our newest product: Hot Fudge Sauce!

It's the time of year for backyard BBQs, watermelon and ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream! I just can't resist a good ice cream sundae with a high quality hot fudge sauce. And to scratch my own itch for such a hot chocolate sauce, I designed a decadent hot fudge sauce using honey as a base.

Using a local honey instead of the more typical corn syrup base gives this fudge sauce a richer and less saccharine sweetness. It also gives the chocolate sauce a thicker texture which means it won't immediately pool at the bottom of your bowl (unless of course, you heat it to temperatures similar to Dante's sixth level of hell).

Another reason this hot fudge sauce is so rich is that we use both cocoa powder and real chocolate. Many quick recipes call for cocoa powder only which produces a less full-flavored chocolate-y profile. Our mixture of cocoa powder and French dark chocolate five the sauce a deep, rich chocolate taste.

The last crucial quality concern for me was how the sauce would react once poured on ice cream. My biggest pet peeve with many high-end chocolate sauces is that they often turn into a hard shell on the ice cream. Our blend of honey, fresh cream and butter make sure that this sauce stays somewhat fluid and flexible once poured on the cold ice cream.

A few of our early taste-testers (you'd be surprised how many people volunteer to help out a chocolatier when it comes to tasting new products!), have found other users for this hot fudge sauce:

  • to make decadent mochas
  • as a garnishment or finishing touches on plated desserts
  • as a topping for waffles and crepes
  • to make a delicious chocolate martini
  • one person suggested eating by the spoonful straight out of the jar, but I can't recommend that in good conscious since it's not calorie free lol

Our sauce comes in a glass jar so you don't have to worry about popping it into the microwave. And it generally takes between 10 and 20 seconds to heat it up just perfectly! Keep this product refrigerated as there is fresh cream and butter. Lasts for about 30 days.

Buy it in our shop or online here.

July 15, 2019 — Krysta Bea Jackson
Thank you from Sugar Love!

Thank you from Sugar Love!

November is the month for giving thanks, and for me it feels even more appropriate since November 28, 2015 is when I first opened the doors to this crazy little retail shop. Making this Small Business Saturday our two year anniversary!

This past year in particular has been one of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life. My house flooded, I lost the lease on my big expansion plans for the business, and then I lost the business funding attached to that, my grandmother died rather suddenly, my dog of over ten years had to be put down, and I've had stress upon stress about meeting deadlines and bills due as every entrepreneur feels at this point of the game.

However, I was also the first ever Chocolatier of Artown, grew my recipe book by about 38 recipes in 2017, studied under one of the best chocolatiers in the world, partnered with amazing vendors and makers in the area, presented my chocolates to local government, was mentioned by Bloomberg as one of the reasons to move to Reno, and most importantly, have met so many wonderful people like yourself who can appreciate my nerdiness for chocolate and food at large.

So thank you! The late, late nights and the early mornings when I was either crying from stress or making another batch of Earl Grey Tea truffles, those stressful times were completely justified by every passionate talk about ingredients or online review that praised my work. The whole reason I created this company was to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life, because really, that's all we have. Sometimes I get too focused on growth curves or how well that other company is doing, but then one of you will come in and tell me your latest travel stories and the interesting things you learned and ate. And I remember that why I do this business is to connect with you, and food just happens to be the avenue.

All this emotional rambling is to tell you who have been through thick-and-thin with me, thank you. Every small gesture, every time I hear "this is the best chocolate," and all the online reviews, mean the absolute world to me. Thank you, and I hope you have an amazing season - may your Thanksgiving be filled with food and your holidays with traditions from your family. 

Here's to another crazy year for Sugar Love!
xo Krysta Bea
November 01, 2017 — Krysta Bea Jackson

Artown Chocolate Collection 2017

One of the best reasons to live in Reno is our annual, city-wide, month-long celebration of art called appropriately enough Artown. Every July since 1996, the city comes together to celebrate all things art including live music, visual arts, dancing and often movies in the park.

Spending most of my childhood in the Reno and Sparks area, I was unaware that the amount of art in our community is not common. When I moved to Alaska – I noticed the lack of art almost immediately. While not the only reason I moved away from Alaska, it certainly was a reason I wanted to come back to Reno.

Last year, I got the crazy idea to have artists design something for the tops of my chocolate and I would craft recipes based on their art or on the artists themselves. After an open call for submissions, I picked five artists that all created something truly unique and representative of their work. Then came the challenge: what flavor do you create for an adorable blue yeti? While quite challenging, I loved it!

The Artist Collection from 2016

This year, I reached out to the Artown organization and asked if we could do an official Artown box of chocolates. They were interested immediately which made this little chocolatier’s heart melt. Kate O’Hara, the 2017 Artown Poster Artist, then created the digital art for the chocolate based on elements she had created in the poster. And they are gorgeous!

Two of the designs immediately inspired flavors: the ballet shoes just seemed to be perfect for champagne and strawberries and I wanted something simple but spectacular for the Artown logo so why not showcase that beautiful Vietnamese 73% Dark Chocolate I had just tried a few months back? Especially since Artown is focusing more and more on global efforts in addition to our local roots.

The other three designs were more challenging. Eventually I settled on a key lime pie inspired recipe for the slightly groovy, retro feel of the musical design. Key lime pies seem a bit nostalgic for me and the colors kind of hint to a lime flavor, a good fit for the design.

The sky line of Reno with the mountains in the back made me think of late nights in the city with snow falling. If it’s late and snowing, you probably need a drink to help keep the cold away – so I knew I wanted to do an alcohol based truffle, but which one? I began digging through cocktail books and websites when I came across a 1920s drink called the Brainstorm. It’s an Irish whisky drink with Benedictine and dry vermouth, and it’s usually served with an orange peel. I asked the owners of the Stamp Social Club to make one and it was perfect! Slightly spicy, sweet and floral – perfect for a truffle! I named it the City Collaboration since it really takes the entire city to come together and brainstorm to put on this wonderful celebration every year.

The most difficult design for me was the bird design. I think it’s the fact that the bird almost labels the chocolate as being poultry. But luckily most would understand that it’s not a good idea to have poultry in chocolate! Where to go with that as inspiration? Well, what do birds eat? Or should I do something with blueberries since the bird is blue? Or maybe focus on the branches in the background – are they sagebrush, could I do something with sage?

Eventually, I chose to do something that birds eat – sunflower seeds. But how to best present them? I ended up creating a two-layered confection with the top layer being a roasted sunflower seed gianduja in milk chocolate and the bottom layer a dark chocolate and honey ganache. And while this was the hardest for me to create, I think it’s my favorite one!

The Artown Chocolate Collection 2017

If you’d like to try these limited-edition flavors, they’re for sale only during the month of Artown 2017. You can purchase them online and in our store. 10% of the sales will be going to continue supporting Artown. Also, check out the full calendar of events during July, including our own event at Sundance Books and Music on July 27th.

July 05, 2017 — Krysta Bea Jackson
Flavor of March - the French Tart

Flavor of March - the French Tart

Last spring, I stumbled upon a cocktail recipe for a French Tart. It's a simple drink to make with wonderfully complex flavors. Since then, I've been obsessed with making it into a confection. And I think I've done it!

The drink recipe (found here) has fresh grapefruit juice, simple syrup made with fresh rosemary, a splash of fresh lemon juice, vodka and St Germain. When you make the rosemary simple syrup in advance (and it really is very simple to do), throwing together this drink in a shaker is easy and will still be impressive to your friends and family. And what better drink to wish for warmer temperatures (c'mon Reno and/or winter weather)?

So while the drink recipe is surprisingly easy to throw together, the recipe for this confection took me a long time to create. The biggest issue was controlling the amount of water that is naturally in fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. Because you are creating a confection that must be shelf stable for a minimum of three weeks, even with dairy products present, the chemistry of the interior is very important. And water is easily the biggest enemy in creating a wonderful chocolate. I toyed with the idea of using a grapefruit essential oil, but that just isn't my style. I like using the ingredients as they're found in nature whenever possible.

This lead me to create something other than my usual truffle made of a ganache base. Instead, this month I present the French Tart jelly. This jelly is made with fresh grapefruit juice, rosemary, lemon juice, vodka, St Germain and pectin, not gelatin. One reason being the natural source of gelatin, but the real reason is the texture. The texture of a pectin jelly is so addictive. You can thank French pâte de fruits for my addiction to that texture!

Sugar Love Chocolates' French Tart jelly

March 01, 2017 — Krysta Bea Jackson