It’s said you can’t go home again, but in the case of Anita Zeldin, a native East Hamptonite who left nearly three decades ago to find her way on Wall Street, you can. So long as you have a candy thermometer in the pocket of your apron.
The homecoming all started back in the Big Apple with a pastry class Zeldin took while she was working as a corporate executive. Her baking bug was surfacing, and along the way she discovered that as much as she liked to eat chocolate, working with it was just as satisfying. After a class assignment and extended tweaking, Zeldin painted her masterpiece: chocolate covered macadamia butter brickle, in white-, milk- and dark chocolate permutations.
“Everytime I worked on the recipe, I had people taste it,” she says. “And they loved it! It’s highly addictive.”
As the Wall Street Journal reported last summer, in a story titled “Banker Builds a Candy Business in Bits and Pieces,” in 2009, a “combination of calamities,” both personal and global, finally forced the move back to her hometown. In April of 2010, Zeldin set up shop in a commercial kitchen she rents from a local caterer, and spilled out her first batch, packaging it with the indigenous moniker East Hampton Edibles and an image of the town’s Main Street windmill.
Along with fellow confectionary upstarts Fat Ass Fudge, the Water Mill Cupcake Co. and Sacred Sweets, Zeldin hopes to make the leap from a small-batch product sold at farm stands, gourmet stores and local IGAs, to the sort of national market now enjoyed by the Barefoot Contessa and Tate’s Cookies, two other brands birthed in Suffolk County.
For now, Zeldin’s schedule consists of three days making the candy, and the rest of the time, she takes care of the business side of the business, packaging, filling orders, making deliveries. The candies are broken into bite-size chunks and packaged in 8-ounce and 1-pound bags for $12.95 and roughly $25, respectively. Her e-commerce site has launched just in time for holiday orders, a seasonal peppermint brickle is in the works, and the future is wide open.
“I think it’s really important to find something you really love doing,” she says. “I wake up and say I really do love to eat, I really do love chocolate.” And her own handiwork? “I still eat it,” she says. “I still go nuts for it.”