Easter Sweets with Lock and Key Confectionery
While we love bunnies and blooms, undoubtedly the best part of Easter is a basket overflowing with candy. This year, we're welcoming a bigger confection collection than ever, filled with elegant eggs, playful critters, and delicate spring pastels. Some of our most exciting arrivals are from a local maker-- Delaware's Lock and Key Confectionery; we're beautifying our baskets with their indulgent, gold-topped chocolates and a cheerful crop of veggies. Recently, Lock and Key's Samantha Betley stopped by our office to make a batch of her spectacular sweets and chat about all things candy.
terrain: How did you start making candy?
Samantha: I come from an Italian family, and my grandmother was always baking and cooking when I was young. My dad also loved to be in the kitchen. With that background, I decided to go to Johnson & Wales for baking and pastry arts. After school, I worked primarily as a specialty cake decorator, but I ended up leaving the baking world for about a year. When I began thinking about returning to food, a friend suggested that I try working with chocolate. Within a week, I had started test batches and was creating ideas for a stylized take on chocolates.
terrain: What's the process of creating new candies like? What inspires you when you're working?
Samantha: I have two different approaches to candy making. One is starting with flavors. I’ve been creating flavor flights—typically five different flavors that go together. It’s really fun to come up with the combinations-- I love experimenting to find out what flavors work together! For example, a winter flight might start with light amaretto and gradually progress toward caramel, coffee, and bourbon.
In other cases, I start with color—that was my foundation for this year's Easter candies. In those cases, I’m inspired by the color scale, and there are a lot of test runs to get the color just right. It’s easy to get the lighter shades, but can be a challenge to not overpower with darker ones.
terrain: Do you have a favorite season or holiday for candy making? What are you looking forward to this spring?
Samantha: I loved creating candy for Christmas, but I’m really having fun working with spring's pastel colors. I love when people say, “I can’t believe it’s chocolate. It’s too pretty to eat!” I'm also enjoying the flavors and ingredients of the season. Pistachio and strawberry were my favorites for Valentine’s Day, and I’ve been working a lot with lighter flavors for spring—incorporating dehydrated fruits and florals. My new favorite is blackberry, and I’m also developing a “garden box” of chocolates with unexpected pops of floral flavor like rose and lavender.
terrain: Can you tell us a bit about the candies that we’ll have for Easter at terrain?
Samantha: I was inspired by Faberge eggs when creating the pastel candies flecked with gold. I think they look like Easter eggs! It was a fun challenge to create all the different colors. The vegetables were something different for me—I liked the unusual feel of having vegetables made from chocolate, and dressed them up with a dusting of gold.
terrain: How did you choose “Lock and Key” as the name for your brand?
Samantha: There are two reasons, actually. While I was thinking of names, the song “Lock & Key” by folk singer Sara Watkins kept popping into my mind. I’m not musically inclined, but I’m a huge music fan—it’s my "other love" aside from chocolate, and I always have music playing while I think and work. I also think of life as having lots of “locks,” or challenges to face. Sometimes the keys to open them are small, and they can come in different forms, like conversation, music, or chocolate—anything that makes your day a little better.
Beautiful...almost too beautiful to eat...almost.