On Pleasureful Pastry

Chef Linda's Confection Commentary

The Sweet Spot Between Risk and Reassurance

“Every purchase is a dance between risk and reassurance.” This quote from a consummate storyteller encapsulates how each of us feels when we execute the purchase of a product we plan to gift to family members, business colleague or friends. Often, we temper the excitement we feel for gifting a product or service we believe will be enjoyed by the recipient with mild apprehension that the gift will be loved and appreciated. There’s a sweet spot that bridges risk with reassurance.

Our guests must have faith in our company, our products and our service – our value statement – before taking action to support us. Trust in business is a very scarce resource, one that we honor with each guest. We want to contribute to the experiences of your lives. We prove it by doing our best work each and every time.

The Essential Espresso Brownie will replace the three varieties of Essential Caramels in our Ultimate Bundle for all future orders. The Essential Espresso Brownie has intensely flavored espresso powder and a secret underlying flavor affinity that complements our 72% Guittard chocolate. It rounds out our annual purchase very nicely. Garnished with a dusting of espresso bean-infused sugar, each glorious bite has every quality of the very best brownie: a thin floating crust and richly succulent interior.

With no loss of faith, our beloved Essential Caramels – Sugar + Cream, Salted Chocolate and Chocolate Espresso – are always available for gifting and events. Here’s how a guest described his enjoyment of Essential Caramels that he received as a gift:

“I have never tasted any form of confection as perfect as your caramels.  Awesome is all I can say. I would like to be able to order your wonderful caramels for myself and to give as gifts to others.”

The Sweet Spot Between Risk and Reassurance

If you or your recipients have enjoyed any Essential Confection product – Essential Panettone, Essential Butter Cake, Essential Caramels – and would extend us the gift of your comments about that product or experience, we would be very grateful. You may do so by simply clicking this link and signing-in with your Google account. We offer our products (risk) as statement of who we are, and ask for your considered evaluation (reassurance).

Although our antennae is up, we inevitably overlook some opportunity to serve others in small ways each day; but the real pleasure in life is discovering those moments and jumping into new experiences.

We are grateful for you and for your chosen relationship with Essential Confection.




The Actual Purchase was the Experience

A friend with a discerning wit and a beautiful sense of style was traveling to Hawaii with his new partner and his partner’s family to enjoy their spring retreat. At the family’s insistence, the trip was gifted to my friend – first-class.

His partner’s birthday fell during the trip. Always the creative, my friend purchased his partner’s favorite carrot cake from a New York dessert company and had it shipped to Hawaii to celebrate the special event. He purchased a second cake to accompany the evening meal on the last night of the trip – and hired a chef team to cook the meal as a gift to his hosts.

Celebrating the people and events of our lives has a higher level of awareness for most of us now as we step toward the restored lives unfolding before us.

While spending $240 on two cakes may raise an eyebrow, the actual purchase was the experience of the event, a special and unexpected contribution that created delight and elevated the celebration.

Essential Confection participates in our guests’ life events. We relish hearing the stories of our guests’ celebrations, and love contributing to your experiences.

Follow along as we tell the tales our guests tell us. Then, consider how we might partner with you to benefit your next special occasion.




The Work You Help Us Do

Women Writing for (a) Change, founded in my hometown of Cincinnati, is a community of writers that births more conscious voices. I remain a part of that community wherever I live and work.

Writing seems a natural companion to the successful promotion and growth of Essential Confection; yet the story we tell is not simply one of pleasureful confection products, or even gifting.

Essential Confection’s mission is to stamp out food insecurity through hands-on action, advocacy at multiple levels and financial contribution.

This mission currently takes shape through participation in two organizations: the Portland Free Fridge Project, a mutual aid org which provides food directly through community fridges and pantries and is completely volunteer maintained and serviced; and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, a non-profit political advocacy organization that addresses the root causes of hunger while increasing access to nutrition support programs.

Ongoing communication with our guests helps solidify how the work you help us do benefits others and makes a difference in the world.

As we move into the production, packaging and marketing of the Essential Salted Chocolate-Almond Cookie – cookie dough that you can freeze and bake off anytime at home – we remind you that your continued support takes on the added meaning of helping us help others.

Each pleasureful experience helps stamp out food insecurity.

 We are grateful for your continued support.




A Teapot May Be a Confection Product’s Best Friend

Although I love the practice and luxury of high tea, pairing tea with confection products can require as much skill as pairing wine with dinner or dessert. Complementary tea flavors elevate the entire experience of small bites of savories and sweets. Tea also settles the body and mind, luring us into a calm and relaxed respite that enhances enjoyment of our dessert pairing.

Essential Confection product development always has wine and tea pairings in mind. Moscato d’asti, a sweet, bubbly Italian dessert wine, has flavors of peaches, grapes, orange blossoms and Meyer lemons. It pairs beautifully with Mini Essential Butter Cake and grilled fruit. Moscato d’asti is traditionally paired with Essential Panettone, our classic, artisan dessert-bread, as well. Creative companies like Traveling Vineyard offer specific wine pairing suggestions for many, many foods – salty, savory and sweet. Here’s a neat tool to explore on their site. 

A green oolong, chai tea or milky English breakfast tea would be lovely with our butter cake. A fruity green tea is a great accompaniment to the citrus and yeasty flavors of panettone. The same vocabulary we use to describe wine or aperitifs – tannins, terroir, fruit undertones – applies to tasting tea.


Right hand the rudder

steadying cup’s stern, translucent hands gift

viscous tastes of silky vanilla…


Because of my interest in single-flavor and textural development in confection products, tea pairings are a logical next step to more fully enjoying our products. We will be partnering with tea aficionados to offer the most gratifying tea-dessert pairings.

We wish to deepen your enjoyment of Essential Confection products, and to heighten your awareness of how flavors contribute to and juxtapose one another for added pleasure.

Mini Essential Butter Cake is available year-round in any quantity for events and gift-giving. Contact us to chat about a larger order to reconnect with those whose relationships you value.









On the Topic of Eccentricities

Yesterday, the word “eccentricities” found its way into a conversation among a group of very dear and insightful women. We marveled at how mature relationships have a profoundly different resonance than those early experiments of our youth.

One person’s perceived eccentricities are another person’s charm or brilliance – her je ne sais quoi – elusive qualities that are not easily named.

Pleasing, somewhat undefinable qualities not only endear us to others; they enhance our lives when we sample things of unexpected quality. Several years ago, I tasted a product new to the Portland food market. The company, Cocacao, blends cacao, coconut nectar and coconut oil into a silky treat that is further enhanced with nuts, spices and fruit. It was a revelation that lingers in my memory.

Essential Confection empowers our customers to gift that special ‘eccentricity’ – that unexpected quality – to their recipients.


Of cacao’s munificence,

a brush stroke of coconut

paints ecstasy into being.

Oh, sweet virtue!


 Whose eccentric qualities enliven your life?




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