Lance Duffin has always had a sweet spot for candy.
By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA
The Kansas City Star
“My grandmother hand-dipped chocolate all her life,” he says. “I’ve kind of grown up around confections.”
Last spring he headed to the Brookside Farmers Market with an array of baked goods, including cookies, shortbread and coffee cakes. But it was his handmade caramels, which he sold under the name Oishii Studio Sweets, that “just took off.”
Oishii (pronounced oy-she) means delicious in Japanese, and it’s a word his Japanese-American wife and children use often. A visual artist who originally came to Kansas City to teach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Duffin also decided to include the word “studio” in the company name because he plans to one day expand beyond confections to include art and apparel.
“Caramel is this incredible medium that just works so well with so many flavors and textures, whether it’s nuts, spices or liqueurs,” he says
He crafts the caramels after-hours in the kitchen of chef Celina Tio’s Julian restaurant. Standard flavors include sea salt, rosemary and single-malt scotch with smoked sea salt. But other flavors change with the season and the holidays. For March, limited-edition flavors will include Earl Grey and Irish Cream.
For more info go to the Oishii Studio Sweets Facebook page. The caramels are available at Better Cheddar, Dean & DeLuca, One More Cup, the New Dime Store, Cellar Rat, Snow & Co. and Wines by Jennifer. The suggested retail price varies, averaging around $6.50 for five hand-wrapped pieces.