Specialty Food Magazine

WINTER 2015

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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G rowing up in County Cork, Ireland, Claire Keane developed an affinity for caramel. Her favorite homemade dessert was caramel squares, a shortbread cookie spread with a layer of soft caramel and crowned with solid chocolate, a recipe derived from a gourmet Irish cookbook. Though popular with the whole family, they were so messy and challeng- ing to make that her mother tackled them only once a year. Keane's older sister Ann-Marie eventually took over the annual task but gave up after they proved too difficult and labor-intensive. At age 12, Keane made her own first big batch and saw how quickly they disappeared. "My brother and father always appeared out of nowhere when they would catch the smell of caramel squares from the kitchen," she reminisces. The Beginnings of a Business Difficult or not, Keane realized the caramel squares were worth the trouble. When she needed pocket money in high school she got to baking, selling them to classmates. But she didn't pursue it further for a time, going on to University College in Cork and then Dublin, where she completed a master's degree in environmental science. This producer had a good job in environmental science but knew she wanted more. As it turns out, she found her calling creating caramel squares and other sweet treats inspired by her youth in Ireland. BY JULIE BESONEN Claire Keane, Clairesquares A Piece of Home PHOTOS: CLAIRESQUARES 54 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com producer profle

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