Ladybug chocolates takes pride in creating some of the finest handcrafted confections you will experience, using the finest ingredients available. Each of our chocolates are crafted by chocolatiers who share a common passion. Whether the confection is elegant or playful, each chocolate should impart a unique experience and have a lasting finish.
Everything we do is small batch, including our caramels. In addition to using the finest chocolate to enrobe the caramels in, we use a proprietary blend of sea salts to create the various flavor notes in our salted caramels. We also use other natural ingredients and time-consuming processes to create unique and special flavor blends. A perfect example is our salted lavender caramel sauce. We steep lavender buds in whole cream and then strain it before the caramelization process starts. No oils or artificial flavors, just pure, natural lavender to create something truly special.
Our Smoked Sea Salt
The majority of "smoked sea salt" available on the market has a "smoke-flavored liquid" sprayed on the salt. In addition to the artificial flavor, you also get caramel coloring to make you think the salt has been authentically smoked.
The smoked sea salt that we use was literally a journey to find a pure, natural wood-smoked sea salt to use in our caramel products. Robert Dye searched Hawaiian isle after isle, and in more stores than he could count, and literally stumbled on an independent small batch salt maker. He bought a small bag, used it in a recipe and was hooked.
Ladybug uses only smoked sea salt that has been smoked over wood fires, specifically alder wood or guava wood. Each imparts a unique natural flavor that can't be duplicated by artificial flavors found in many other salted caramel products.
Nothing is out of bounds when it comes to pairing chocolate with a flavor or food. Mint, cayenne pepper, ginger, lavender, maple syrup, pumpkin, most liquors and liqueurs pair well. Even a stout beer can be used in chocolate. When we come up with a new idea, we will run several batches adjusting this, tweaking that, and then only upon a unanimous vote from the entire staff, is the new product introduced.
From Robert Dye, Owner: "It is rare when I eat or drink something that I'm not making a mental note on how it would integrate or be paired with chocolate. In 2015, in a small olive oil and vinegar shop on Maui, I was tasting samples of different flavored balsamic vinegar. As soon as I tasted them I knew we had a winner. We selected Blackberry, Black Cherry, Strawberry and Blueberry vinegar for how they meld with the chocolate ganache which makes up the center of the truffle."
One of the ways that fine chocolate candies are different from other average chocolates is how we use a tempering process. Tempering, a technique that stabilizes chocolate, creates a glossy sheen and crisp snap that is unmistakeable in fine chocolate candies. The tempering process encourages the cocoa butter in the chocolate to harden into a specific crystalline pattern and is accomplished by raising and lowering the temperature (hence tempering) in small, specific increments. It's more labor instensive and time consuming, but the result is a delightful chocolate experience like no other.