Dec 10, 2019 01:43PM
Something is cooking on Amelia Island, and it is delicious. A new company called The Amelia Toffee Company is growing fast. It has established a production center in the old Harvest Bread Company space on Sadler Road. The company moved from their Jacksonville location earlier this year. The bigger freezer, convenient location for shipping product, and room to grow is just what the company needed.
So where did it all begin? Anita Comisky, the dynamo behind the rapidly growing company, has fond memories of her grandmother’s toffee. One fateful evening, she decided to take some as a hostess gift to a dinner party. As luck would have it, Kelly Abercrombie, CEO and majority owner of a regional distributor of gourmet food, candy, and Florida products, was at the dinner party. She encouraged Anita to accompany her to a specialty food show. Anita’s entrepreneurialism kicked in, and she has never looked back.
Starting with her grandmother’s toffee recipe, Anita experimented, consulting with experts in the specialty gourmet candy business. She learned that coating the bites of toffee with chocolate resulted in longer shelf life, a prerequisite for success. The company has experienced explosive growth and is now in 46 states and 400 stores. The company found a niche, and it is the only toffee maker in the country making uniquely flavored luxury toffee treats.
The flavors are bold and include bourbon, pumpkin, coffee, orange, and key lime. Sources include salt from Florida Pure Sea Salt and roasted coffee, local honey, and chai tea flavors from Rethreaded, a Jacksonville nonprofit.
Surprisingly, beer is an ideal ingredient in the creation of many of the company’s toffee recipes. Liquor like bourbon and rum can add a flavor punch. Bold City Beer, St. Augustine Distillery, and Amelia Island-based Marlin and Barrel Distillery are valued sources.
Amelia Toffee takes great pride in creating private label toffee flavors and has done so for Rethreaded, The Ritz-Carlton-Amelia Island, Elizabeth Pointe Lodge, Marriott Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, and The King and Prince Beach Resort on St. Simons Island, Georgia.
“We are passionate about our ingredients and using the highest quality,” says Anita. “We are ecstatic to have the partners we do. We believe in supporting local and eating local, and hope others do, too.”
Visiting the production facility on a typical day, you will find high energy as employees work at making toffee, carefully covering it with chocolate and finely minced nuts. The toffee is made in small batches to ensure the highest quality and attention to detail.
The employees clearly enjoy working with Anita. One employee manages Marvelous Marvin, a specialty machine that coats small pieces of toffee in chocolate before it is rolled in nuts. Anita shared that Marvin “eats” 30 pounds of dark chocolate every two hours and will enrobe 1,000 pounds of toffee in this season alone. It is then packed in innovative and colorful packaging.
Once a year, a special recipe much like Anita’s grandmother’s original recipe is made for the holidays. A bed of finely minced almonds is covered with toffee, and then a layer of white chocolate and a sprinkle of peppermint pieces. It tastes like Christmas.
Anita and her husband, Jim, enjoyed successful careers in accounting and their expertise is a great help to their rapidly growing business. The cat that adopted them, Cooper, is among the few cats who do like toffee!
Amelia Toffee Company is sold in all Whole Foods, Lucky’s Market, Bealls, and Earth Fare stores in Florida and over 400 stores nationally. Their toffee can also be purchased in 15 locations on Amelia Island, including The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island; Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort; and the Amelia Island Museum of History.
Their retail outlet at 820 Sadler Road is open Friday 9 am - 12 pm. Amelia Toffee Company can be found online at www.ameliatoffee.com, and on Facebook and Instagram.