Occupation: Co-owner, with sis Agape Hammond and brother-in-law Philip Jaklich
Where: Twee & Luliloo, 218 State St.
Why you should go: For treats to sneak at Overture Center intermissions and, of course, for your valentine!
What's with the name?
We always get that question. Twee means 'quaint' in Old English, and Luliloo is a take on an old French word for 'welcome.' It's a tongue-twister, but I figure if people can say 'HÃagen-Dazs' they can say 'Twee and Luliloo.'
Is owning a candy store your dream come true?
I don't know if anyone actually aspires to it, but it's great ' if you get the opportunity to do it, you definitely should. We come from a foodie family in California. My dad's a food chemist with several businesses, so we grew up going to huge food shows, tasting everything and carrying around big bags of samples.
My sister moved to Madison first ' she opened Ideal For You on the 100 block of State in 2004. I was in Spain when she called with the idea to open a candy store. It sounded like so much fun I flew back, got my stuff in California and drove out here in September '05. It just took a month to find the right location and get it painted and open for business. We were open by Halloween.
It's a little like being kids again. We get to go to candy and chocolate shows every year, all three of us, and because we have different taste, it works. We bring tons of stuff home. We go through it all, and when we have consensus we know it's really good. That's how we decide what to order. We just sample little bites, but I'm lethargic for days after we're done.
Got some aphrodisiac chocolates to slip in a special Valentine's box?
Our caramel and sea salt chocolates, handmade by Knipschildt, in Connecticut, are my favorites, and they're phenomenal. Gooey liquid caramel covered with dark chocolate and drizzled with milk chocolate and bits of sea salt ' what happens after you eat one of those is none of my business!
The dark chocolate passion fruit truffles from Belgium would be appropriate. The praline hearts are our most popular item ' I've never met anybody who doesn't love 'em. The praline center comes covered in milk, dark or white chocolate. I'll recommend the amaretto almond truffles and the toasted coconut clusters ' I'm addicted to them.
We've got chocolate roses, which cover all your bases. Oh, and we have body paints and tattoos ' you can tattoo yourself with chocolate, which is always fun. People always giggle when they buy the kits.
What about box options?
We've got lots of heart boxes and regular rectangular boxes with little printed hearts that we'll tie with your choice of pink or red ribbon. Both come in sizes that hold three to 35 chocolates, so you can get as much as you want. If you really want to be outrageous, we can make you a chocolate tower ' 99 pieces of chocolate in a stack of five boxes, with a big one at the bottom and a tiny one at the top. It's neat to go through each box and find something different in each one. It's perfect for the ultimate chocoholic.