Chocolate-Covered Jalapeños? It’s Not Bubbe’s Chocolate Anymore
When her new chocolate company needed a name, Sara Meyer and her husband, Corey, decided to connect it to his maternal grandmother — Faigele/Faigy/Fay, meaning little bird in Yiddish — and her love of chocolate. Both are memorialized in the name they came up with: Little Bird. While Fay usually kept several boxes of random chocolate open at any given time in her home, Little Bird’s Curious Confections prefers its proprietary Belgian, sustainable chocolate and natural ingredients to produce its Fire Bites and Fire Barks, all with candied jalepeños.
Little Bird started about five years ago when Sara hungered for a project to supplement caring for her twins and her job as a technical operator at NY1 TV. So she started a recipe blog and learned about photographing food. One day she prepped one of her husband Corey’s favorite treats, chocolate-covered orange peels. Possessed by a Sorceror’s Apprentice citrus-peel binge, she found herself candying all available citrus: lemons, oranges, grapefruits. She was covering everything in reach in chocolate. When she ran out of rind, she tried candying the jalapeños. When the leftovers ended up at work and co-workers asked to place orders for the chocolate-covered jalapeños with sea salt, Sara realized that she had concocted a potential business. With time, Sara and Corey scaled up from their home kitchen to the factory they call The Nest.
Corey and Sara, who met through JDate over Ethiopian food, each grew up in observant, synagogue-affiliated families. As Sara says, “I think that my generation of Jewish-Americans grew up with the stories of our grandparents or great-grandparents coming over with the proverbial $10 in their pockets. We grew up learning about the immigrant experience — hearing about what parents/grandparents/great-grandparents had to do, how clever they were, or what trials they endured. We work hard, we work smart, we work with dedication, we work with the full support of our families. We (both personally and professionally) donate to local causes and shop locally, and believe strongly in hiring people with a desire to grow, regardless of their backgrounds.”
Sara and Corey would like their children to know what it means to work, to be part of the dreams of growing a business. Their five-year-old twins, Jack and Rebecca, and older daughter, Emily, visit the factory almost every day. Emily is learning about business development. Jack is hands on. Rebecca knows where the hair nets are. While they nibble the chocolate off of the jalapeños, Corey and Sara hope that their palates become more sophisticated with time.
You may satisfy your wish for the hot and sweet chocolate combo on line or in stores around the country.
Bubbe Faigy would be so proud.
Rabbi Prinz travels the world sharing stories about chocolate, cultures and convictions. More about Sephardim and chocolate, along with historical and contemporary recipes, may be found in “On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao”. Prinz also blogs at the Huffington Post and at onthechocolatetrail.org. She is currently working on a project related to women and chocolate.