The DC area is blessed with scores of artists and designers who make beautiful things for your home and your wardrobe, but this week I wanted to focus on food craft. I wanted to find a source for fine, handcrafted edible goodies, and I hit the jackpot not fifteen minutes from where I live: a sweet shop called The Sugar Cube run by sisters Kim and Alyssa Theodore.
Growing up, Kim worked at her hometown chocolate shop, and fell in love with sweets at the tender age of thirteen. It was a love that would never diminish, even as she grew up and pursued a career in academics. Meanwhile, her sister Alyssa enjoyed a successful career in publishing, but had always nurtured a passion for gourmet foods and treats. After she felt she had enjoyed everything a non-foodie career could offer, she thought about turning that weekend fascination for food into something full time.
Both sisters knew that somehow, one day the two of them would turn their love of sweets into some kind of delicious joint venture. The Sugar Cube was born after a combination of strategic planning and serendipitous happenings came together, and the store opened in early 2007 in Old Town, Alexandria.
Right from the beginning, Kim and Alyssa knew they wanted to focus on independent producers of quality sweets. The Sugar Cube is all about chocolates, sweets, and fine confections that are well-made and beautifully presented. Classical approaches to candy making, innovative twists, and unique flavors are all welcome at The Sugar Cube.
Truffles are the most popular chocolate item in the store. The Sugar Cube’s artisan truffles, and all the gourmet confections, come from chocolatiers and candy makers from all over the country, using both traditional and innovative techniques. About twenty-five percent of the chocolate and candy vendors at the Sugar Cube are local, and both Alyssa and Kim are always looking for new talent.
There’s so much more to tempt any sweets-loving customer who wanders into The Sugar Cube. I was immediately drawn to the giant jars housing their custom-colored chocolate milkies. If you bought them at the supermarket, they’d be called M&Ms and would only come in six colors. At this little shop in Old Town, they are made by hand and come in twenty-five colors!
The collection also includes caramel based candies that are made in the store, familiar favorites like Jelly Belly jelly beans, nostalgic sweets like Moon Pies and Necco Wafers, and more than three dozen types of panned chocolates. Nearly anything you might want covered in chocolate is available at the Sugar Cube: almonds, raisins, toffees, gummy bears, and of course, the classic malt ball.
If you time your visit properly, you can take part in the store’s tasting series, which happens every Saturday afternoon. The sessions are free and rarely require reservations, and are used to introduce new products, flavors, or confectioners to customers. Additionally, there’s always a different sweet available for sample every day. When I visited, I had a taste of a white chocolate passion-panna cotta truffle. White chocolate ganache, buttermilk, and passion fruit-vanilla jam: I’m no food critic, but I can tell you that it was absolutely amazing and I’ve never had anything like it!
The Sugar Cube is located in Old Town, Alexandria at 210 North Lee Street. Drop by from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm Tuesdays through Fridays, or 11:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. You’ll have to refrain from handmade sweets on Mondays, I’m afraid. Check their calendar of events to participate in the tasting series.