Maggie Foard has a table next to me at the Marin Country Mart Farmers Market. She's a fairly new vendor there, but we're such a tight-knit vending community that when there's some down time in the morning hours, there's chatting and catching up and networking... and lots of coffee. Perhaps most importantly, there's time to try each others' treats. So after sampling Maggie's decadent goat's milk fudge, I knew I wanted to learn more about her process, the evolution of her company, and where she sees herself in the next few years.
First it must be said that there's a bit of a stigma surrounding the word "fudge." For so many, it conjures images of an overly-sweet, gooey confection. Often you really can't even taste the cocoa or chocolate, and it ends up seeming overly processed and fake. But Maggie's fudge is the exact opposite. The flavor profiles are complex, the cocoa distinct -- this is a very special product. I fell in love with the Dark Chocolate Almond Fudge right away. It's fantastic to slice off slowly with tea in the afternoon or to sneak into the kitchen late at night for small slices to accompany fruit or sliced peaches. Maggie's goats butter shortbread cookies are also noteworthy: they're a little more subtle in flavor than cow's butter shortbread which tend to be decadent with a rich butter flavor. These have the same texture and crumb, but are lighter and quite lovely, especially when dipped in Maggie's goat milk caramel sauce. The product certainly speaks for itself, but Maggie's passion and drive certainly help, too. A product and a face to get to know if you're not yet familiar.
1. Tell me a little about your business and how/why you decided to start it.
I had an epiphany with goat cheese a few years ago. After avoiding dairy products in general for many years, I discovered that I could eat goat cheese and goat milk products instead of cow's milk and I felt better. That sent me whirling into a whole new food group and the next thing I knew I was under contract to write my cookbook, Goat Cheese. This brought me into the local wonderful world of cheese and milk. The fudge came about in a flurry of desserts -- making up for all those years of avoiding sweets because they all had cow's milk in them! I began making goat's milk fudge for my local goat dairy a couple of years ago and it was so popular that I decided to take the fudge to the big city! That is how Kidding Around with Chocolate was born, just last September. Cheese Plus on Polk Street and Rainbow Grocery were my first two customers.
2. Do you think living in the Bay Area allows your business to flourish? If so, how so?
I am a native of San Francisco so I can't really imagine living too far from the city for very long. I do live in the coastal mountains an hour south of the city where I keep a few goats and chickens of my own. So I am not a city dweller any more but still crave the hustle and bustle of the city. It's in my blood. The entire Bay Area is such a "melting pot" and people are so open to trying new things. The newer the better, in fact, kind of like little food thrills. It's a foodie mecca.