by Maria Isabella, Interview by Vicki Todd-Smith
Candice Berthold is a degreed microbiologist by education…a sales and marketing professional by experience… and an entrepreneur by choice. Not to mention she’s also currently pursuing certification as a health and wellness coach. How did she end up where she is today? “I followed my passion,” explains Candice. “It certainly wasn’t planned!”
Candice opened her first Mediterranean retail store, playfully called The Olive and the Grape, in Mentor in 2005. She has grown that concept to now include two more locations: one at the West Side Market and one in Cleveland’s Kamm’s Corners neighborhood on the West Side. Not only has she found success through growth, she’s also been recognized for her quality products (winning the “Best Sea Salts of Cleveland” award from Cleveland magazine in 2010, for example).
Prior to entering the retail world, Candice taught wine sensory classes and hosted a radio show on wine — which is a credit to all that her mother and maternal grandmother taught her. “They were wonderful mentors to me,” says Candice, “both as great cooks and awesome hostesses. I got my flair for entertaining from them.”
When asked to describe her perfect meal, she quickly responds, “There is no perfect meal. There are countless enjoyable meals. I like variety. In fact, people know me for preparing healthy yet delicious food.”
Candice was first introduced to LDEI through an invitation to be a guest speaker at a meeting in May 2010. She gave a presentation on sea salts and was so impressed that two months later she applied for membership. Today, Candice serves as chapter vice president.
What does she enjoy most about being a member? Her fellow Dames and the opportunity to expand her knowledge.
Learn more about Candice as she shares some fun and interesting insights about herself.
Of all the places you’ve traveled, where did you have the best food? I have enjoyed many excellent meals while traveling. My recent favorites, though, are in California. Everything tastes so fresh! And, of course, the wine is also excellent. Which reminds me of my recent trip to Chateau Montelana in Napa Valley. This was the winery that won the Chardonnay competition in the legendary Judgment of Paris tasting. I joined their wine club and now have two bottles sent to me every three months, plus I have options on their reserves as well!
What is your favorite cookbook? I generally don’t follow recipes. I like to be creative. But my favorite kitchen books that provide me with both knowledge and creativity include Italian Cooking Encyclopedia, Cooking with the Bible: Recipes for Biblical Meals, The Flavor Bible, and Molecular Gastronomy.
What’s your favorite comfort food? Linguini with Sardinian or Sicilian olive oil, herbs, fresh tomato, fresh spinach, and good Parmesan cheese.
Any favorite indulgences? Red wine and dark chocolate.
What’s your favorite snack? Sardinian music bread and wine, or homemade hummus and pita chips.
What’s your favorite dessert to prepare? I like all types of desserts. My current favorite is angel food or pound cake with a chocolate raspberry filling, drizzled with red raspberry (or chocolate) balsamic vinegar, garnished with fresh raspberries, and dusted with cocoa and powdered sugar.
What’s the biggest cooking mistake you’ve ever made? I once dropped a whole serving platter of Chicken Divan right as my guests were arriving! Luckily I had plenty of “extras” in the fridge. I extended the appetizers to a lengthy hour while I prepared a second batch of Chicken Divan.
What’s one ingredient you can’t live without? Premium olive oil. And good aged balsamic vinegar, too.
Name 3 kitchen gadgets you can’t live without. Silicon spatula, microplane zester, and garlic press.
What would people be surprised to find in your kitchen? At least 8 bottles of opened olive oil (all from different countries). But then again, if you knew my business, that wouldn’t be a surprise at all.