Cordon-Bleu-trained chef-owner launches healthy gourmet candies using Maui fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.
Kula, Hawaii (July 1, 2013) – Maui’s locavore foodie scene just got a little more interesting. In the heart of the bustling and growing Saturday morning Upcountry Farmers Market, where some of the best organic produce on the island change hands, is an inconspicuous vending stall operated by investment banker-turned Cordon-Bleu-trained artisan confectioner, Lin ter Horst, and her triathlete husband Chris ter Horst, offering to patrons an unusual assortment of specialty healthy gourmet candies. They named the candies Maui Fruit Jewels after a customer suggested the name, inspired by the beautiful natural jewel-tones of the candies.
Maui Fruit Jewels are the chef owner’s take on the “pates de fruits”, a sought-after gourmet French confection found in fancy chocolatiers and boutique confection shops around the world, particularly in France, its birthplace. It is often enjoyed with a dessert wine and gourmet cheese. But more often than not, it is simply consumed in the same manner as a piece of fancy chocolate - just on its own.
No other chocolatier or patissier offers the wide range of flavors as offered by Maui Fruit Jewels, encompassing not only fresh fruits, but also vegetables, herbs and spices, and even nuts. “It just makes sense, to create a product that takes maximum advantage of the best of what Maui has to offer,” said Lin ter Horst. “We have lived in 14 different cities on three continents, and Maui is one of the few places on this planet where you can find passion fruits (lilikois), guavas, prickly pears (paninis), coconuts, papayas, mangos, raspberries, persimmons, loquats, pomegranates, strawberries, lemons, sour sops, Surinam cherries, jackfruits, cherimoyas, lavenders, turmeric, kefir limes, macadamia nuts, lemon grass, mints, to name just a few, all growing on a 700 square mile-island,” names of obscure and common members of the plant kingdom effortlessly roll off Ter Horst’s tongue.
“Most chefs don’t have the luxury of being able to work with fresh exotic fruits and so they have to rely mostly on commercial frozen fruit purees. We are extremely blessed with the amazing diversity of fresh produce on Maui that can all be the primary ingredients in our candy,” Ter Horst adds. “We are just getting started. The only limit is our imagination.” Indeed, a quick search onwww.MauiFruitJewels.comyielded stunningly beautifully photos of glistening candies with flavors including not just some of the fruits mentioned by Ter Horst, but also beetroot, jalapeno, celery, and mint cucumber.
The dainty one-inch square candy, almost never fails to shock the uninitiated with flavors so intense and powerful, and true to the original primary ingredient. It is the result of a long cooking process that serves to reduce the moisture content to enable the candy to set properly, and concentrate the flavors, which are many times the intensity of the original primary ingredients. The candies are tangy and sweet, and even hot and spicy, depending on the primary ingredient used. The texture is soft and just a tad chewy. The candy seems to have the ability to make people gleeful, and bring out the child in adults again.
The ingredients are as basic as it gets – the primary ingredient being the fruit, vegetable, herb or nut, followed by organic sugar, glucose syrup, pectin, and citric acid. “The beautiful colors and flavors are all derived from the primary ingredient, which constitutes over 50% of the final product, so there is no need for additional flavors or colors,” said Ter Horst. The pectin is the gelling agent and is used widely in fruit jams and jellies. “Our candies contain no gelatin or carrageenan, no emulsifier, no added flavoring or color, and is gluten-free and vegan, “ Ter Horst adds.
While the rest of the world coats this candy with sugar before it is served and consumed, Maui Epicure made a conscious decision to not coat their beautiful creations with sugar, preferring to present the candy in its more natural state, individually packaged in see-through pouches stamped with the name of the primary ingredient.
“Please sample all of the flavors,” Ter Horst chirps to her visitors, gesturing to the spread in front of her at the Upcountry Farmers Market. The Ter Horsts cherish the interaction with their customers at the various farmers markets and town parties they have attended to promote their candies. “We couldn’t have come up with these great ideas for our products without all the input we’ve received from our customers”.
Maui Epicure plans to distribute Maui Fruit Jewels throughout Maui and Hawaii via specialty gift shops. The Maui Fruit Jewels can also be purchased via the company’s newly launched online storewww.MauiFruitJewels.comand their shop on Facebookwww.facebook.com/mauifruitjewels
About Maui Epicure
Lin ter Horst and her husband Chris ter Horst founded Maui Epicure LLC in 2012, after they moved to Maui in that same year from China. Based in Kula, Hawaii, Maui Epicure LLC makes use of the commercial kitchen at the Pono Center in Wailuku, HI to produce their specialty healthy gourmet candy called Maui Fruit Jewels. Maui Epicure is actively involved in community events and charitable initiatives and believes in the importance of supporting local farmers, merchants, non-profit organizations, and important causes throughout the community. The mailing address of Maui Epicure is PO Box 782, Kula, HI 96790. Visitwww.MauiFruitJewels.comfor more information, and contact by emailLin@MauiEpicure.com, or by phone (808) 419-8680.
About Maui Epicure Owner Lin ter Horst
Lin is a native of Shanghai, China, and immigrated to the USA at a young age. Lin grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University (Connecticut), an MBA from Columbia Business School (New York City), and a diploma in pastry arts from Le Cordon Bleu (London). Prior to receiving her pastry training, Lin held a number of positions in financial services and internet marketing in New York City. In 2008, life's unpredictable turn of events brought Lin to Beijing, where Lin started out as an investment banker, and ended up teaching pastry-making classes and making wedding cakes that were featured in a leading bridal magazine in China.
About Maui Epicure Owner Chris ter Horst
Chris is a native of The Netherlands with a background in industrial engineering. Chris worked in Rotterdam and was an active water polo player, rower, and survival run enthusiast. In 2008 Chris moved to Beijing, where he studied Chinese and joined theBeijing Hash House Harriers, where he met Lin. In 2011, while working as a supply chain manager for a German hydraulics company in Shanghai, Chris raced in triathlons in China and Taiwan, winning top prizes as an amateur. In 2012, Chris began to train full-time, and can now be found climbing up the Haleakala on his bike, swimming in the ocean or the pools on Maui, or running alongside the sugarcane fields, when he is not managing the affairs of Maui Epicure. In 2013, Chris began racing the 70.3 distance and has qualified to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas 2013.
Lin ter Horst