Posts Tagged ‘ honey bar ’

Bees & Beans’ Faith Dionne Celebrates Local Honey, Wins Good Food Award
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

FaithDionneFaith Dionne started as a pastry chef, living and working all over the United States. She says that each town has a unique identity that she experienced through food. Now living in Portland, Ore., Dionne says that place is a paradise of ingredients and has grown a food community that celebrates locality. The 2013 Good Foods award winner has set out to showcase the region with an ingredient-driven candy bar line,

Q: Can you talk about your personal background and how you came to be an artisan candy bar maker?

A: My background is as a classically trained pastry chef. After culinary school, I worked in hotels and restaurants around the country for 10 years. I had been making salted caramels for friends and family for a while and noticed that they were typically eaten by threes and fours. I decided to start dipping bars of caramel to save time and things evolved from there.

Q: You use so many products from Oregon and you call it a paradise of ingredients. Why is that region such a great place to get items from, especially honey? 

A: Oregon has a vibrant and diverse farm culture. Chefs have been working hard to develop relationships and build systems in our community for decades. It’s easy to get inspired by a drive through the Willamette Valley. Wessels honey is another way to experience the Valley. We currently host a hive in our backyard for Beelocal, which places hives around the Portland area. Honey, like my candy bars, capture the specific place in which the bees live.

Q: Focusing on the honey bar, why was it important to you to use honey in this product?

A: The honey bar was my flagship product. I made the choice to use honey as my invert sugar in all of my products instead of glucose or corn syrup. It functions similarly, tastes amazingly, is produced locally and helps the local food system.

Q: What do you love most about working with honey?

A: I love the slight variations I see bucket to bucket. I wish I could read the honey like a little bee log. I know each harvest reflects what was happening in the bees’ area.

Q: What does it mean to you to win the Good Food Award?

A: The Good Food Award was an incredible honor. I was attracted to it because it is purely merit based. Products are blind tasted (no packaging, PR firms, or voting) and the finalists are vetted to assure good practices are employed. The purity of it is lovely and I hope that it is what remains in the specialty food world.

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Bees & Beans
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Faith Dionne is a former pastry chef who has turned her passion for food into the ingredient-driven candy bar line, Bees & Beans.  Her business is unique in that she strives to use local ingredients including Portland honey. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss Faith’s success with Bees & Beans and what the future holds for her business.

How did the idea for Bees & Beans originate?

Bees & Beans started as an exercise in locality.  I knew that I wanted to make an approachable product that employed my skills as a pastry chef, provided a high quality and ethical product and was an expression of place: the Willamette valley.

I had been making Salted Honey caramels for friends and family. The candy resonated with them because while tasting luxurious they also showcased local products.  I noticed folks rarely ate one caramel and more typically three or four, so I began saving time by making larger bars.  The different compositions of candy bars grew as inspired by their ingredients.

Why did you choose honey as a key ingredient for your some of your bars?

All of my candy bars use local honey and 70% dark chocolate.  I am so in love with both of these ingredients that I named my company after them: Bees (Honey) & Beans (cacao).

The honey is most featured in the Honey bar, which is honey caramel layered with salted filbert (honey) nougat.  Both nougat and caramel need an invert sugar for the cooking process, which is typically made with syrup.  Honey is a local alternative –  natural, delicious, and I buy it from a family farm whose bees pollinate local crops.  By using honey, I believe my candy is richer and more complex, as well as more ethical.

What are the benefits of using natural ingredients in your candy bars?

The benefits of using natural ingredients for me is that I feel better about making and eating my products.  Candy bar cravings happen and I think it is important to have the opportunity to make a better choice.

What is your best selling item and why do you think that this item sells so well?

The Honey bar is my best selling item by far.  I think it has something for everyone: salty, sweet, bitter, shatter, chew, crunch.  It also evokes a familiar and nostalgic candy bar, Snickers, which is the US’s best selling candy bar, but in my opinion tastes worlds better.

Honey is a natural sweetener, do you think that we will see more candy manufacturers using honey in their products in the future?

I hope that honey shows up more in local products.  The trend of eating locally is gaining national attention and I expect it is one that will stay around.  Honey for me is an obvious choice because it is a locally produced sweetener.  Beyond that, the bees that make that honey are helping our local farms.  Add to the equation a rich and satisfying flavor and the answer is clear.

What is the most challenging aspect of your business?

A challenge for me is keeping my goals clear.  Looking around at other businesses and opportunities, while interesting, tends to get me off track.  I need to refer back to my founding concepts when things get confusing and often I find my answer there.

What are future plans for Bees & Beans and are there any new products that you will be introducing?

Future plans haven’t been disclosed to me yet!  I’d like to expand my direct sales which would increase my profitability.  I am currently developing a sampler box of Bees & Beans miniatures, which will target the “boxed chocolate holidays.”  Seasonal bars will be released as inspiration comes.

Do you make candy made with honey? Get them listed here by emailing

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Bees & Beans Honey Bar
Friday, March 18th, 2011

Bees & Beans Honey Bar is a delicious combination of
 honey caramel, salted filbert and honey nougat, hand dipped in dark chocolate with a sprinkling of sea salt The natural ingredients and sweet and salty flavor notes will delight your taste buds.

Bees & Beans candy bars are made in small batches featuring local honey, butter, cream, coffee, raspberries, blueberries, walnuts and filberts from Portland, Oregon. In addition to the Honey Bar, their other products include the Berry Bar, Bert Bar and Coffee Bar. All of Bees & Beans’ products are handmade and packaged in eco-friendly, biodegradable wrappers.

Do you make candy made with honey? Get them listed here by emailing

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