During a 2009 ice storm, Michele Lepard Kim and her family were marooned at neighbors’ home when they tried to deliver forty boxes of her wonderful and original brittles and toffees to a New York City customer.
After Kim resigned herself to not getting through, she fished out a few boxes from the frozen car as an impromptu thank you gift for their hosts. The family’s teenagers had plundered all the boxes before she had even left the room to fetch a few more.
The handcrafted confections of La Petite Occasion, the name a nod to Kim's Franco-Swiss heritage, are made in the commercial kitchen of Blue Pig Ice Cream in Ossining and are available both on line and thru a number of area retailers (see below).
The dark chocolate-topped toffee cracks to the bite and then melts luxuriously in the mouth. The ginger-pecan brittle is Kim's favorite but her husband Doug is addicted to the cinnamon-peanut, which she has to hide from him. He sometimes tries to steal it from her orders. Kim creates custom flavors as well, such as coffee toffee and bourbon-pecan brittle. The unique flavors are always made in small batches and Michele is careful to taste every one.
The serious stand mixer and the tower of copper pots in her kitchen are tip-offs to her professional training but Kim was an advertising designer for ten years before attending culinary school. She and her husband, who runs a small advertising firm, collaborate on marketing and on the graphic design for La Petite Occasion.
Kim learned to make her brittle during her stint making pastry at Eleven Madison Park, a restaurant in Danny Meyer's NYC empire, and then began experimenting with flavors at home for gifts.
“La Petite Occasion began in 2006 as part of my new, post-city life—part of settling in here,” said Kim. Now that her six-year old son is in school, her business can grow.
The understated and compostable kraft paper ballotins are filled to order and tied with raffia. A boxful makes a special Mothers Day or holiday gift; smaller bags are popular for shower gifts or wedding favors. “The candy has a female following,” Kim said, chuckling.
Where you can buy La Petit Occasion Candy:
– Bedford Hills
The Freight House Café – Mahopac
Who’s Cooking – Croton Falls
For more information, visit La Petite Occasion's website.