Portlanders have fallen hard for rich truffles and drinking chocolates in the past few years, but former Higgins pastry chef Faith Dionne has upped the cacao ante recently with her new line of candy bars, Bees & Beans—named for her two favorite candy ingredients. Sharable, organic chocolate-dipped logs obsessively crafted from local goods—mellow Wessels Family Honey from Forest Grove, organic dried blueberries from Corvallis—each bar's like a little Oregon road trip in every bite. Homemade in Dionne's own kitchen, they're so fresh they have an expiration date. A sprinkle of fleur de sel and bittersweet chocolate lend the Honey Bar's fluffy caramel, hazelnut and honey-nougat center an irresistibly salty-sweet edge. I'd pass on the Berry Bar (the raspberry caramel inside tastes like frilly bath salts), but the happy crunch of filberts and crispy rice make the not-too-sweet 'Bert Bar taste like the grown-up version of a Nestlé Crunch—improved with peanut butter. Like your sweets on the cold side? North Mississippi Avenue ice cream shop Ruby Jewel Scoops, which opens later this month, plans to use Dionne's candy bars in one of its housemade ice creams.
Bees & Beans bars are available at Food Front, Cheese Bar, Foster & Dobbs and PastaWorks. About $4.50-$6 each. Info at beesandbeans.com.