Oh 2020, what a buzzkill you were for a food and travel blogger! You may have noticed I was a bit quieter than usual in the last year, but what was there to say when all of my usual routines ceased. 😕 What did I do instead? Caught as many sunsets as possible!
Here we are now in 2021…and it’s time to figure out ways to find my voice again and put back some normalcy in any way possible.
This year I want to start featuring stories about local small businesses. If you have ideas for me, drop a comment and let me know.
With that said, if you know, you know, but Nancy Gulizia Flint is a San Diego Small Business QUEEN and #BadA** (in my opinion)! For those of you who don’t know her, it’s time that you do. I’ve featured Nancy’s treats for years, but truly, she deserves a big bright spotlight!
[ Source: Sugar Mamma Caramels ]
Nancy’s award-winning small business is called Sugar Mamma Caramels and she makes 19 flavors of the most decadent, luscious, and silky smooth caramels that you’ll ever put in your mouth.
Some of my personal top favorite caramel flavors include the Beer and Pretzel, Chai, Champagne, and the classic award-winning Sea Salt.
What makes these caramels exceptional? Two things; first, Nancy makes her caramels with love. As cliché as you may think that sounds, I promise you it’s the real deal. Her motto is “Give Love, add a little Sugar!” When she pours a batch of caramel into a pan, she’s pouring all her love into them as well.
That leads us to the second best selling point, her ingredients! She selects only the best and highest-quality ingredients to melt into these mouthwatering bites of heaven! Did you know that Nancy grows some of these very ingredients in her own backyard? The Passion Fruit and Meyer Lemon Caramels are both made with the fruit she grows on-site just a few yards from her kitchen!
If that alone isn’t cool enough, she also takes every opportunity to collaborate with other small businesses in the San Diego area. Are you feeling whiskey? Cause I am! 😉 She recently collaborated with First Light Coffee Whiskey, a San Diego made whiskey company.
Since Nancy makes coffee and spirit added flavors of caramels, this partnership was a no-brainer! Who wouldn’t want coffee-infused whiskey melted into caramel?!
I recently got a taste of First Light Coffee Whiskey myself and I can tell you it’s delicious! Exploring whiskey is still a new adventure for me. I’ve only gotten into drinking darker spirits like whiskey and bourbon in the last year or so.
Given my love for coffee, there’s no real surprise that I enjoyed this whiskey. The coffee whiskey comes in Dark Roast and Original. I’ve tried it both on the rocks and neat; it’s smooth and tasty either way and will warm you up during these chilly San Diego days. I’ve also shared a taste with five other people so far who have all had nothing but good things to say about it too!
Since First Light is a recent discovery for me, I thought it would be fun to do a little Q & A session with the founders, David and Ryan, so we can all get to know them a little better!
Q: What inspired you to create First Light Whiskey?
“First Light Coffee Whiskey is inspired by our shared passions: protecting our planet and celebrating life’s best adventures. We feel most alive when sharing new adventures with great company.”
Q: What’s your favorite way to enjoy the whiskey?
“I enjoy our Coffee Whiskey straight up, on the rocks, or in any of our signature cocktails. My personal favorite is our Coffee Cocktail at Gaslamp Breakfast Company in Downtown SD.”
Q: What are some of the short and long-term goals for the First Light Whiskey brand?
“Over the next few months, we’ll be partnering with awesome bars and restaurants throughout SD and collaborating with fun local brands that share our values. Long term, we’re stoked to make First Light a household name in Southern California and beyond!”
Q: What do you love most about living in and building a brand in San Diego?
“San Diego is a magical place, the energy that exists here is one of a kind. I think most of it comes down to the amazing landscapes and an eclectic mix of inspired human beings. From the coastline to the mountains, to the desert, this city truly has something for everyone. San Diego is fused with the DNA of First Light Coffee Whiskey, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to share our passion with the local community.”
Eager to try this Coffee Whiskey for yourself? You can find it here.
What I love about both of these small businesses is their love and appreciation for the San Diego community. These small businesses need our support now more than ever and they also make really great gifts…that is if you feel like sharing! 😉
If you’re interested in other products that Nancy makes, she truly has something for everyone, much like San Diego. Sugar-Free caramels, Vegan caramels, cookies, and brownies, fluffy marshmallow treats, and the most amazing chocolate and graham cracker cookies, which make for the yummiest s’mores I’ve ever had!
I thought it would be great to ask Nancy the same last question: What do you love most about living in and building a brand in San Diego? Nancy moved here to build a small business because San Diego is full of beautiful days and nights, and kind people. She added “Now more than ever I find enormous support from our foodie culture and our city that nurtures small businesses. I love San Diego and am blessed to be a small sweet part of its food world!”
As I celebrate San Diego Food Girl’s 5th Blogiversary this month, I couldn’t agree with Nancy’s sentiments more. Building a San Diego brand and being a part of the food culture here is an undeniable blessing.
Until next time, happy eating, traveling, being safe & healthy, and supporting small businesses!