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California’s Quintessential Sweets

11.15.17

Luphia California Sweets is a new artisanal dessert company that marries the spirit of California cuisine with Japan’s food gifting tradition. Crafted by hand in Orange County using the highest quality, locally-sourced ingredients and wrapped in custom, thoughtfully-designed packaging, the company’s lineup of treats offers customers a selection of cookies, nuts, and seasonally-inspired sweets perfect for both at-home indulging and gift giving. They even offer shipping nationwide. Luphia was founded by Jun Sanders, a self-taught baker born and raised in Japan.

We were able to find out more from Jun about Luphia cookies and sweets--we've tasted all of their delicious products that are very special and make great gifts.

What inspired you to start a cookie company?
Japan has a huge food-gift giving tradition known as Omiyage (the nearest translation is souvenir, but doesn’t quite capture it).  When coming back from a trip, visiting a friend’s house, having a business meeting — and a hundred other social situations — it’s typical to bring a food-gift.  Also, food gifts in Japan almost always represent the place they come from (and usually contain ingredients from that region).  I love California, and after moving here, I’d been looking for a sweets gift that represented California, but never quite found it. So a few years ago, when visited friends and family in Japan, I made cookies with California ingredients and used existing packaging to make it look like I bought them, and the recipients just assumed that I did!  Eventually, I decided to design my packaging, and turn it into a business.

What makes your cookies different from other cookies?
We make Japanese-style icebox cookies.  They are buttery and crunchy like shortbread, packed with ingredients like caramelized nuts and chocolate, yet not overly sweet.  Because icebox cookie dough is frozen then sliced, the cross-section of those ingredients creates interesting visual patterns on the cookie.  As for the caramelized almond line, whole almonds are roasted with a very thin caramelized layer and lightly salted, which makes for a nice crunch and complex flavor.  Also, nearly all the main ingredients are grown or produced in California — the wheat flour, butter, sugar, almonds, walnuts, chocolate, and so on.

How did you come to the name Luphia?
It’s a made-up name that, to me, represents the spirit of California.

Do you have a favorite flavor, and why?
My favorite really varies depending on what I’m pairing it with, but right now the bestseller is the Salt Butter Almond cookie.

Where can we find your cookies?
Our products are available at Treat Me Sweet stores at Tom Bradley International Terminal and Terminal 1 at LAX, where a lot of people have been buying them as traveler gifts. Locally in Los Angeles, we’re at the high-end food mecca FarmShop in Santa Monica, and at Monsieur Marcel at the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles — a local tastemaker that’s always putting new and interesting items on the shelf.  And of course, all of our products, as well as limited-run seasonal selections are available on our website, luphiasweets.com. Also, with the holidays upon us, we do business gifts with logo customization and party favors.  We’ll also be introducing some limited edition holiday items.

 



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