HOW SWEET IT IS
The past year prompted Alexandra Griffin to think sweet thoughts, giving rise to Boston’s Alma Kitchen.
Alexandra Griffin, founder of Alma Kitchen PHOTO BY DANI FINE PHOTOGRAPHY
Receiving a silk-ribbon- tied white box of shortbreads from Alma Kitchen (almakitchenco.com) is like landing a gift of little revelations. The individually wrapped cookies rest inside a box lined with brittle straw and hugged by double tissue paper printed with scenes of bucolia in bloom. A card, crafted with handmade paper, offers a greeting from whomever bestows the package to a lucky friend or family member. Another card includes watercolor illustrations of shortbreads from Alma’s Fleur collection (lemon thyme, pistachio, lavender and orange blossom). It’s quite the production. And beautiful—the type of charm that would prompt someone to make viral YouTube videos of unboxing these creations.
Confections from Alma Kitchen’s Noir collection include chocolate truffles PHOTO BY DANI FINE PHOTOGRAPHY
“Food has always been my love language,” says Alexandra Griffin, who launched Alma Kitchen, a direct-to-consumer business, at the height of the pandemic. “Even as a young girl growing up in the Midwest, I would look for any excuse to bake for friends and family. During college, I spent two summer internships in Boston working for Dunkin’ Brands on the culinary team.” She fell in love with the city and returned after graduating; she’s also worked in brand management and in London for a nonprofit.
Sweetness and beauty from Alma Kitchen’s Fleur collection, featuring edible flowers. PHOTO BY DANI FINE PHOTOGRAPHY
While Griffin knows starting a company during a global pandemic was bold, she recalls hearing countless stories about other entrepreneurs pouncing long-dormant business dreams. “I’d like to think we’ve been able to bring a bit of light to people during this difficult time. Part of the reason the brand has resonated is that there has been an even greater craving to connect with nature and with each other. I love reading the notes that our customers include in their gifts each week, because so often it’s clear that sending a box of Alma is their way to connect with loved ones.” Raves have poured in from consumers and the likes of actress Kelly Rutherford, entrepreneur and socialite Indré Rockefeller and model Harley Viera-Newton.
Shortbreads from the Fête collection PHOTO BY DANI FINE PHOTOGRAPHY
The distinct shortbreads are made using edible flowers. But unlike other botanical shortbreads, Griffin and her team don’t bake the flowers into the dough. Instead, they put a light glaze on the shortbreads and then apply the flowers. “This way, they’re able to maintain their freshness and vibrancy, and there’s a little extra sweetness for those who aren’t accustomed to the flavor of traditional shortbread,” she says.
Griffin says that, historically, nature-inspired food is often seen through the lenses of nutrition and taste. “Both are incredibly important, but food should be just as beautiful as it is nutritious, and there may be new and exciting ways to integrate nature into our everyday lives through food.” Environmental consciousness also plays an important role at Alma. “It has never been more important to protect nature and the world around us, and as a brand that celebrates nature’s beauty, we have a responsibility to help protect it.” For every box of confections sold, a portion of the proceeds goes toward planting a tree. The company also uses a carbon-neutral shipping policy.
Who knows where Griffin might have directed her passions if the world hadn’t paused and lurched for a year? “If you have more time at home, revisit an old hobby or consider making it more than a hobby,” she says. “If you have a business idea that seemed impossible before, now might be the time to take the plunge and give it a go. The world will thank you later.” We’re all thanking Griffin now.
Photography by: Courtesy of Dani Fine Photography