Tag Archives: Clarine’s Florentines

How to start, and sustain, an artisanal food business

susie - credit Laiko Bahrs
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The only time Susie Wyshak had parental sanction to play hooky from school was to go see Julia Child do a cooking demo; which is to say she grew up in a food-loving family in Los Angeles. So perhaps it is no wonder that, some years ago, she thought about launching her own artisanal food product.

She had fallen in love with forbidden black rice and started experimenting with roasting it to transform it into a crunchy, savory snack. But, right away, she faced seemingly insurmountable challenges; not least the fact that everyone thought it looked like mouse poop.

Wyshak was in the process of looking at roasting drums and considering having a co-packer produce it for her, when she realized the cost of getting the ingredients to the co-packer was prohibitively expensive. … Continue reading »

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Gilman Street Gals cook up sweet treats in Westbrae

Another holiday favorite: Clarine's Florentines
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In a teeny tiny, dark commercial kitchen on a small shopping strip on Gilman Street in Berkeley’s Westbrae neighborhood, four full-time, female food artisans, and a few part-timers too, are turning out sweet baked goods that have earned them mad props in the Bay Area.

Think of these enterprising edible producers as the Gilman Street Gals. In the cast: Clarine Hardesty, of Clarine’s Florentines, who holds the lease to the kitchen, which is co-owned by Bob Kelso of Toot Sweets down the block. Joining her behind the stoves: seasoned wedding and specialty cake maker Carolyn Wong, whose signature style is simple, elegant, and artistic. Also in the mix is Anastasia Widiarsih, herself no slouch on the designer cake front, whose main focus these days at Indie Cakes & Pastries is baking scones, cookies, and cakes for wholesale café clients, including Saul’s Delicatessen + Restaurant. Relative newbie in the kitchen crew: Christine Falatico Frey of CiCi’s Italian Butterhorns; her sugary, buttery, cinnamon walnut cookies are featured holiday picks in the December issue of Diablo magazine — along with Clarine’s Florentines and June Taylor‘s christmas cake. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

The interior of A Priori on Vine Street
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FIRST THINGS FIRST A Priori, which calls itself a store where “global meets local” had a soft opening on Monday October 17th. The shop, owned by Lisa Tana, is at 2112B Vine Street and sells modern sustainable products, including home decor and gifts  made by local artists.

OUT OF THE CLOSET As reported last month, California Closets has opened in Berkeley, bringing on-site manufacturing and new jobs to Fourth Street. An official ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce will be held Wednesday October 19th at 6pm.

ITALIAN DELICACIES Clarine Hardesty launched Clarine’s Florentines in Lafayette in 2007, but then saw sense and moved to a production facility on Gilman Street in Berkeley. Hardesty was a 2nd-grade teacher for seven years before deciding to launch the florentine-focused company. She took inspiration from time spent in Florence while in college and from her dad, a successful entrepreneur. Her buttery caramel and chocolate cookies are available locally at the Pasta Shop on Fourth Street, as well as at several other Bay Area locations. … Continue reading »

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