Old School Favorites is a small, family-owned company that began in 2014 and sells gourmet chocolate sauce and nuts. Each batch of their stand-out ‘szauce’ is carefully crafted utilizing top-notch ingredients such as Five Acre Farms cream, the distinctive Madagascar Vanilla (the only vanilla extract I ever use), velvety Valrhona Chocolate, with a touch of North Fork Sea Salt.
Pair the szauce with their unforgettable Nutsz- Maple Walnuts as a topping for your favorite old-fashioned sundae. My choice would be vanilla bean ice cream or chocolate chip cookie dough with a towering amount of fresh whipped cream and a cherry on top. Sold in a seven ounce package and made with just a few, carefully selected ingredients, their nuts have a delicately sweet essence of maple. It reminds me of traveling upstate during the autumn months and hiking up the majestic mountains that parallel the Hudson River.
I keep thinking how the chocolate Szauce and Nutsz would be the perfect centerpiece for a sundae bar at an intimate gathering this summer. The small, four ounce, jar would be great as favors for a wedding or shower. A decadent taste of the Hamptons to bring home with you. I loved both the szauce and nutsz; it was so difficult to put the jars and bag of nutsz down! Lastly, I love that the chocolate szauce is packaged in adorable, eco-friendly mason jars, which can be reused at home again and again.
Below is an exclusive interview with Anastasia Karloutsos, the co-founder of Old School Favorites.
How did you decide on the name, Old School Favorites?
Our brand is all about honoring traditions and time spent with family and friends. The ingredients we use are simple and have been staples in baking recipes for decades, if not longer. Everything we make is comprised of whole food ingredients — things you might find in your own cupboard or pantry: chocolate, cream, sugar, vanilla, cocoa, salt. We hope our products elicit a little nostalgia and take people back to a time and place when things were a little slower, a little simpler, and a little more “old school” as one might say.
Please describe the startup process. How did you create the concept? What can potential customers expect for this upcoming summer?
The concept started with a beloved family recipe. We wanted to honor that tradition and took pains to be sure we could produce a consistently excellent product. We figured out through some trial and error that small batch production would enable us to keep the quality high and produce a product we were proud to sell. We had a few “glitches” with respect to jars and jar tops and shipping to retailers across the country (don’t ask – it wasn’t pretty). But once we had the procedures down and the packaging nailed, we felt great about what we were putting out there.
As for potential customers, they should know that we produce our signature chocolate “Szauce” and maple-glazed “Nutsz.” Delicious on their own, they also make incredible additions in anyone’s family recipes and in many that we’ve developed in our test kitchen. We are really excited to have just announced a new flavor, which is likely to be available only for a limited time — Cayenne Pepper Szauce. It’s our signature chocolate recipe with a touch of cayenne pepper for a sweet treat with a bit of a kick. This is a flavor that customers had lobbied for us to develop. It will be available at least through the summer, so we hope everyone takes advantage while they can! We are also offering both flavors of Szauce in a smaller 4 oz. size that make perfect party favors for any event, including birthday parties, baby showers, bridal showers, and weddings (we can work with customers on a custom label for their event, assuming minimum orders are placed). We are playing around with ideas for other flavors of Szauce, but we won’t introduce additional products until we get them absolutely right. So everyone should stay tuned!
Are you still at the Farmer’s Markets on the East End? If so, which ones?
Yes! We love being at the farmers markets. Although not exactly on the east end, we do participate year-round at the Riverhead Farmers Market. We can also be found at Topping Rose in Bridgehampton. Additionally, this summer we are confirmed for the Hayground School Farmers Market and Southampton Farmers Market. We hope to be at a couple of others on the East End (applications currently pending approval — fingers crossed!).
How did you decide on which ingredients to use? Please describe the perfect chocolate taste.
Sourcing vendors to provide our raw ingredients was a really critical part of our start-up process. We felt very strongly about buying as much as we could from local / regional vendors, and of course the quality needed to be second-to-none. Things like Madagascar vanilla and sugar are not exactly native to the East End (or the Northeast)! However, things like maple syrup, chocolate, cream, and salt are all things produced either locally or regionally. After some research, testing, trial and error, we decided on Taza Chocolate in Somerville, MA to provide the organic stone ground chocolate we use (they make amazing, high quality chocolate!). The cream we use comes solely from dairy farmers in New York State, the maple syrup for our Nutsz also comes from producers in New York State, and we use sea salt made by North Fork Sea Salt Co. in Cutchogue, NY. As for the perfect chocolate taste, to us, the best way to describe it is for someone to experience our Szauce! It has a velvety consistency, and a rich, deep, dark flavor with just the right amount of sweetness. Chocolate products that are overly sweet are usually trying to mask low-grade raw ingredients — we don’t have to do that!
What is your favorite recipe that incorporates your chocolate sauce? Any recipes in the making currently?
We have many, many recipes that incorporate our chocolate Szauce! We hold a test kitchen session almost monthly with a chef friend of ours to test out 3-4 recipes. A favorite from the last session was a decadent, but delicate chocolate crepes cake layered with chocolate Szauce (recipe to be published soon on our blog). With all the snow days we had out here this winter, my kitchen became an impromptu test kitchen quite often with my kids being both my co-chefs and chief taste testers! Their favorite recent recipes were our S’mores Pie (S’mores Pie) and our Chocolate Shortbread Cookies (Chocolate Shortbread Cookies). Any of our multiple brownies recipes are to die for! And if all else fails, heated and poured over ice cream is a classic and fool-proof way to satisfy your craving. We regularly publish recipes in the recipes section of our website and some end up on our Facebook page and pictured on Instagram, so folks should follow us for some sweet inspiration. The Szauce is such a versatile ingredient — you’re only limited by your imagination!
Anastasia is the founder of Old School Favorites. She is a New York native who has been in love with the East End since her childhood visits with family. Having left behind careers in social work and finance, she feels blessed that she is now able to call this beautiful place home along with her husband and three children. An active member of the local community, Anastasia is known for her smile and friendliness. Old School Favorites is the perfect way for her to spread some sweetness in everyone’s life!
Old School Favorites is sold at select retailers across the North and South Fork, including The North Fork Chocolate Company, Hampton Coffee Co. in Southampon, Salty Home in Bridgehampton, and Harbour Front Deli in Greenport, in addition to a few locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Massachusetts. For more information, please visit http://www.oldschoolfavorites.com