Meet the Maker: David Smith, Lambrecht Gourmet
, by Emily Havener
, by Emily Havener
Lambrecht Gourmet started with a friend’s toffee recipe. Although founder and chocolatier David Smith always loved cooking, he was the son of a dentist, and candy was contraband in his household while he was growing up.
It wasn’t until a friend shared a recipe for toffee, and David began making and giving it away as gifts, that he realized how much he loved making desserts—and the possibilities in the gourmet chocolate business.
For a time he produced and sold toffee professionally in partnership with Aromatique, and then he and Nancy, his wife, decided to branch out on their own, and they founded Lambrecht Gourmet, the company’s moniker inspired by the Belgian version of Nancy’s maiden name. David had attended the Chocolate Academy at Barry Callebaut in Montreal, where he met Ruth Kendrick of Chocolot Artisan Confections, coauthor of Candymaking. He credits her friendship and advice over the years as a contribution to their success.
The Southern roots of Lambrecht Gourmet are deliciously tangible. “I have enjoyed spreading our Southern Pecan Toffee to people who aren’t from the South,” David says. “They are used to the traditional almond version, and if they have had pecan toffee, it is just the toffee base, chocolate, and nut crumbs on top.” By contrast, Lambrecht’s award-winning toffee uses junior mammoth pecan halves as a base, combined with David’s original toffee recipe and single-origin chocolate.
Those same pecans also make up Lambrecht’s number-two-selling product, sweet and spicy glazed pecans. With a dusting of sugar and ground chili pepper, these pecans are obviously perfect for snacking—but David specifically recommends them as a base for pecan pies as well.
And there’s a toffee flavor for everyone, whether it’s mole pecan toffee made with four different types of chiles, fleur de sel pecan toffee, or karma toffee with a toffee base enveloping roasted slivered almonds and then covered with a layer of mocha caramel chocolate.
Lambrecht Gourmet continues to expand, though there have been challenges, especially in recent years with supply chain issues causing a chocolate shortage, and butter prices doubling in 2022. But the Smiths have not wavered in their goal to expand their products to all 50 states (they are currently found in 40), and they recently introduced a line of bark bars in flavors like mixed berries with Valrhona strawberry chocolate, and blood orange with orange oil and candied orange peel topped with glazed orange slices. David is already plotting the next artisanal chocolate classes he will take.
The difference in in quality of Lambrecht Gourmet products is truly tangible when it’s savored. “Chocolate should always be allowed to melt in your mouth instead of chewing,” David says. “You really get the full flavor of our imported chocolate.”