Using the One World shared commercial kitchen on Spice Island Drive, Krysta Bea Jackson experiments and creates delicious chocolate concoctions to then sale online and in her retail location in downtown Reno.
Growing up in Sparks, Jackson’s mother had a restaurant in the industrial area called Forklift Bar and Grille that served deli-style sandwiches, burgers, and other American fare to the nearby warehouse workers. Although Forklift doesn’t exist anymore, Krysta was able to catch a glimpse into the food industry and later realized that she wanted to serve food but keep flexible hours and be more creative with it.
Jackson began her education at Jerry Whitehead Elementary School then later Reed High School and received her BA degree with a focus in French literature at University of Nevada, Reno. For a period of time, Krysta also took a part-time job in sales at Sweets Handmade Candies in Reno and learned how to make chocolate fudge, peanut brittle, and toffees.
However, she had a yearning to branch out and create her own recipes. “I wanted to do things a little different,” Jackson says.
She spent a semester abroad in France where she fell in love with their style of dark chocolate. Upon her return, Jackson began to refine her own recipes that are worthy of her own palate. For instance, she carries a Himalayan Salted Caramel (a Sugar Love Chocolates favorite) finding that substituting sea salt for Himalayan salt gives her chocolate a softer taste and is less pungent than sea salt. They’ve nicknamed the popular treat the “rent-payer” since they sell so much of it.
Other Sugar Love favorites include the Limoncello, Earl Grey Tea, Vanilla Fig, and the Dutch Espresso is growing in sales. Jackson admits that the Vanilla Fig was recipe because of a fig’s water content, so she balanced the Turkey varietal with vanilla ganache and soft milk chocolate.
Personally, one of Jackson’s favorites is her delectable made of Urfa biber (a Turkish chili pepper spice) that she says creates a rich mild flavor that sometimes hints of raisin and sometimes smoke. “It goes great with dark chocolate,” she says. She also enjoys her Raspberry Rose- a chocolate that carries floral and fruity notes.
“I get obsessive with my ingredients,” Jackson says. To create shelf stable, room temperature chocolates that last 3-4 weeks, Jackson is continuously trying to find that balance of adding dairy, controlling the water, and sometimes how to integrate fresh fruit into the process while still keeping it fresh.
Now with about 24 flavors in regular rotation and always adding new ones, Sugar Love Chocolates just keep getting more creative in their delicious concoctions. Sugar Love Chocolates regularly introduces a Flavor of the Month that usually coincides with the seasons and availability of the ingredients. Currently, May is Lavender Truffle month with a Bourbon Truffle and Maple Bacon coming in June.
Last October, Jackson experimented with a Spiced Pear Truffle while smooth, Seckel pears were in season.
“The more I learn about different ingredients the more I love using them when they are in season,” Jackson says. “But then I also get really bummed when they’re not.”
She is also grateful for the One World Kitchen for providing her space to cook. “To sell online and retail, I have to have a commercial kitchen with a grease interceptor to catch fats. I started looking at options and found this shared kitchen. They allow multiple tenants and are really flexible, and I think this is the only one in Reno-Sparks that can accommodate all different kinds of businesses,” she says.
Jackson says it’s that flexibility that’s extremely beneficial in the chocolate world when she has to ramp up her cooking hours to make Christmas chocolates and then business drops in January when people start their diets.
“It’s crucial for a startup,” Jackson adds. Jackson feels that being a startup with the option of selling her chocolates online gives her an advantage in helping to sustain the Reno-Sparks economy and the ability to expand her reach. She has been selling chocolates online well before she opened a retail shop, and is proud to be contributing to the burgeoning local food scene.
Sugar Love Chocolates actually receives a lot of sales from Georgia, and Jackson has a theory that it’s because maybe the name “Sugar Love” carries a wholesome Southern connotation along with her own name, “Krysta Bea Jackson”.
In the time that we are chatting, customers come in to purchase Bananas Foster, Cognac, Himalayan Pink Salted Caramels, and espresso chocolates. Always with a cheery attitude, Krysta greets them with enthusiasm, asks them how their day is going, and they leave Sugar Love with their lives a little bit sweeter.
For more information about Sugar Love Chocolates or to view its current chocolate menu, visit https://sugarlovechocolates.com.