Minneapolis, Minn. — Larry Shiller’s mom died three years ago at age 98. Her chocolate macaroons live on.
In 2009, when Shiller decided to produce gluten-free macaroons for the commercial market, he couldn’t think of a better way to honor his mom than give his business her maiden name: Lily Bloom.
Minnesota-made Lily Bloom’s Kitchen macaroons are all-natural, coconut treats, covered with dark or white chocolate. They have been featured on the Rachael Ray show and foody websites such as dessertbuzz.com and chocolateatlas.com.
Gluten-free is the fastest growing food sector, as more people are diagnosed with Celiac disease, Shiller says. “Gluten-free products aren’t always known for being tasty, but our macaroons are.”
Lily Bloom’s Kitchens offers a variety of macaroon flavors and chocolate bark. Coconut and dark chocolate are blended with cherry, orange, cinnamon, almond, walnut and peanut butter, and white chocolate with raspberry, lemon and key lime.
Last fall, Lily Bloom’s offered a harvest blend with pumpkin pie and caramel apple flavors and, in the spring, a fruit medley of strawberry, blueberry and pineapple. Shiller also created a ‘poparoon,’ basically a macaroon on a stick, for gift baskets.
At his friends urging, Shiller contemplated making his mom’s macaroons for the retail market years ago. He met with business consultants and, although they said the macaroons would be a viable product, he was discouraged by business start-up costs.
After his mother died, Shiller, who lives in Shoreview, Minn., decided to follow the macaroon path. He found industrial kitchen space and began selling macaroons at farmers markets. He contacted AURI food scientist Charan Wadhawan to help with nutritional analysis and labeling. Wadhawan says she created more than 26 labels for Shiller, including various packaging and serving sizes.
Lily Bloom’s Kitchen now has two full-time and several part-time staff, a website and is marketing to grocery store and gift shop markets in the Midwest and East Coast. National exposure from the Rachael Ray show “was a great way to add credibility to our product,” Shiller says.
Next steps? Serve caterers and wedding planners, sell in bulk, distribute to more specialty and high-end stores and broaden national markets.
For more information on Lily Bloom’s Kitchen or to order macaroons and chocolate bark, visit lilybloomskitchen.com.