Courtney Dudman Donley, founder/owner of C Salt Gourmet in Long Beach, CA isn’t just a confectioner – she is an artisan. With creations such as Pine Nut Pistachio Brittle with Sea Salt & Vanilla, and Pistachio Cherry Chocolate with Sea Salt & Caramel, Courtney has established herself as a true culinary talent. Her Pistachio Cherry Chocolate earned her ‘Best Chocolate Confection’ by Orange Coast Magazine.
Courtney launched C Salt Gourmet on Valentine’s Day in 2008, which is appropriate since she seals each box with a note reading ‘Hand-made with love by Courtney’. It’s clear to her customers that Courtney is doing what she loves and this passion is the driving force behind other incredible creations, such as mendiants of dried figs, raisins, almonds and hazelnuts, and truffles with Ancho chile and wild honey, brown butter and sage and rose petal with pistachio crumbles. Her culinary imagination seems to know no bounds and we anxiously await the next creation to be added to her impressive oeuvre.
Sweetessa: Courtney, we find your line of products incredibly creative; what is your inspiration for the exotic flavors and textures found in C Salt Gourmet’s line?
Courtney: I’ve always been drawn to sweet and salty flavors and I love the challenge of developing them and combining them with new flavors. I’m also drawn to Mediterranean flavors, such as pine nuts, pistachios and dried fruits. I think that the Pine Nut Pistachio Brittle with Sea Salt & Vanilla, for example, has a unique flavor because of the texture of the pistachios combined with the gentle piquant of the salt, and the mellow vanilla overtones of the brittle. Similarly, our Pistachio Cherry Chocolate with Sea Salt and Caramel has a tartness from the dried cherries that combines with the sea salt to create a complex final product, possessing unique fruity overtones.
Sweetessa: The texture of your brittles are so satisfyingly smooth and pleasant to the palette; how do you achieve a consistency so rarely found in a brittle?
Courtney: With brittle I’m focused on texture and color, and timing is key to achieving the perfect consistency. I find that I must rely upon intuition and experience to get the best results. If it doesn’t have a golden wheat color with a smooth, silky consistency during cooking, then it’s not ready to come out of the pot.
Sweetessa: Do you have any plans in the near future for new flavors to add to your line?
Courtney: I have a number of interesting dessert sauces that I’m readying for sale, such as dolce de leche, hot fudge and Chambourd raspberry. Also, I’m always experimenting with new flavors for our signature brittles and chocolates.
Thank you, Courtney!
If we’ve enticed you to try some of Courtney’s “sweet” creations, please visit C Salt Gourmet’s vendor page on Sweetessa.com!