Sustainable Sweets: Local chocolatiers get nod from Oprah

Sustainable Sweets: Local chocolatiers get nod from Oprah

When Lauren Blanco attended a networking event in New York through the Tory Burch Foundation last year, she managed to get one of her company’s chocolate bars into the hands of Adam Glassman, the creative director of O, The Oprah Magazine.

“His arms were full of products; everyone was trying to get something in his hands,” she remembers. “I was basically like, ‘Here’s one bar; I think you’ll love it. Taste it and get back to me.’”

Markham & Fitz’s Ooh La Lavender bar won Glassman and his team over, and Blanco, the Bentonville chocolate company’s co-founder and CEO, found out he was interested in featuring Markham & Fitz in an issue of the magazine.

Talks of the feature percolated for several months as the creative team searched for just the right fit, but that signaled to Blanco that “it felt like they really liked our product.”

And now, the moment of seeing her company featured in a magazine with 2.2 million subscriptions has arrived. Markham & Fitz is part of the magazine’s “O List” for the April sustainability issue, which hit newsstands March 17. The monthly roundup features a curated list of editors’ favorite things.

“It felt like the culmination of years of hard work,” Blanco enthuses of seeing the article in print.

Of the company’s sustainability practices, Blanco assures it’s a work in progress. “We don’t want to claim that we’re doing it perfectly, but we’re always working on those things where there’s a gap in those values for us.”

That has translated to using only organically farmed cocoa and cane sugar — the two main ingredients for their products.

“We could talk a long time about how organic practices are better for the environment,” Blanco says, “but it’s important for people to know that those sorts of practices eliminate the use of chemical pesticides that destroy the soil, that destroy the microbiome. We buy from farms that are bio-dynamic. That means they’re not wiping out a forest and planting cacao trees, which is done in West Africa and is destroying ecosystems.”

Additionally, Markham & Fitz uses completely recyclable packaging, plus biodegradable sleeves in the chocolate bar packaging. The company also works with companies that ensure the farmers are paid fair wages. Plus, as a business housed at the 8th Street Market in Bentonville, Markham & Fitz is part of the hub’s no waste initiative and has implemented composting practices at their shop.

“We’ve been in a really exciting time, and in such a tremendous stage of growth,” Blanco shares. “I’m just ecstatic.”



Markham & Fitz

WHERE — The cafe is located at 801 S.E. 8th St. in Bentonville; see a list of where products are carried nationally online.

INFO — 235-6236,

FYI — Cafe is temporarily closed due to coronavirus pandemic. Curbside pickup and delivery available by contacting 321-4926.

Categories: In The News