When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I’m not necessarily all about traditional trappings, except when it comes to chocolate—it’s a Valentine’s Day sine qua non. As for Valentine’s Days of yore, I’ve revealed my passion for some of my holiday favorites, like Legacy truffles and Gail Ambrosius truffles. This year, I’m all about the Honey Bon-Bons.
Minneapolis local Susan Brown is the mind behind Mademoiselle Miel Honey Bon-Bons, and when it comes to honey and desserts, Brown knows a thing or two. Let’s do the math. When you combine the skills of a former pastry chef with the enthusiasm of a Minnesota Hobby Beekeeper’s Association Board member, and the know-how of a beekeeper with apiaries on the rooftops of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul buildings, you get honey-based desserts taken to another level.
The proof is in the desserts. Brown has landed coveted Minnesota State Fair ribbons for her honey-themed baked goods, and she’s developed a honey-filled confection that’s grand enough for the queen bee herself, Lady Gaga. Gaga was presented with Mademoiselle Miel Honey Bon-Bons in her dressing room before her recent gig in St. Paul, along with a pair of honeycomb platform shoes from Seattle-based Hourglass Footware.
Photo of Lady Gaga’s shoes and chocolates by Susan Brown
The first thing you’ll notice about Mademoiselle Miel Honey Bon-Bons is the gold and white box designed by Minneapolis artist John Vogt. As you open the box, you’ll discover a few dark chocolate nuggets, daintily dusted with edible gold leaf. And when you finally bite into a bon-bon, the sweet, flowery rooftop honey encased in the slightly bitter chocolate shell spills out, producing an appealing and complex combination of flavors.
Brown says she values concepts of sustainability, which is why she focuses on local production and sustained forestry packaging. She even tries to make her delivery process more sustainable by delivering her bon-bons via bicycle or public transportation.
“Most of the deliveries I make are either by bicycle or by bus,” said Brown. “I’m interested in sustainability, so I support public transportation. Plus, I like to get outside. You meet a lot of interesting people. I try to make a point of saying hello, and try to share some chocolate if I think people need it. One time, I found out a lady was having her birthday, so I gave her a box of bon-bons.”
Brown’s Honey Bon-Bons are gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free, and have made their way to discerning shops like Dr. Chocolate’s Chocolate Chateau, Golden Fig, Heartland Farm Direct Market, Seward Co-op, Sugar Sugar, Surdyk’s, the Walker Art Center Gift Shop, and even Oakland Dry Goods in Oakland, Cal. For a Valentine’s Day bonus, they’re offering Smoked Scotch Honey Bon-Bons, made with honey that was smoked at Heartland Restaurant and Laphroaig scotch—they’re for sale at Golden Fig and Sugar Sugar.
Grab a box of Mademoiselle Miel Honey Bon-Bons for your Queen Bee at home, and celebrate like a celebrity this Valentine’s Day. And stay tuned for news about a new Mademoiselle Miel shop opening soon on Kellog Blvd. near the Minnesota History Center!