We had the good fortune of connecting with Lani Fox and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lani, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?

Through lockdowns and the stress of Covid I wanted, even needed, something that was pure joy.  And I was doing my best to make those times as gentle as possible for my kiddos. One day they wanted marshmallows, which I couldn’t find thanks to grocery shortages, so I made a “basic” vanilla bean marshmallow and was surprised by how good it was. Cooking and growing food got me through the darkness of the pandemic, and inspired the creation of Rosemallows, too. I just kept experimenting and mixing culinary techniques with garden produce and the results were these gorgeous marshmallow-like, truffle-inspired confections.

What intrigued and excited me so much, is how the spun sugar in tandem with seasonal ingredients creates such a complex flavor profile. Each one releases and changes flavors as it’s eaten, sometimes quite dramatically. A friend described eating Rosemallows like being transported to Willy Wonka’s candy shop. I hadn’t eaten anything remotely like them, and it inspired me to start selling them so I could share the experience.

When making Rosemallows, I have as much fun as I can, coming up with exciting flavor combinations to nudge myself and others out of our comfort zones. I walk out into my small urban farm and think, What’s in season and what would be a wild, delicious, and out-of-the-box flavor combination? Some of our first flavors included cherry tomato–cocoa lightly inspired by mole; red wine topped with pomegranate seeds and freshly ground black pepper; salted maple with thyme; basil with meyer lemon zest; jalapeno-vanilla; lemon with rosemary and fennel pollen; fig with basil and balsamic vinegar; and sweet corn with coconut. It’s so fun to mix sweet with savory. Some of the flavors initially sounded strange to my customers, so I had to encourage people (sometimes heavily) to try them. Once they did they were consistently surprised by how truly delicious the combinations are. Even friends who typically detest marshmallows, absolutely love Rosemallows, and jokingly demand that I bring some every time we get together.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?

Rosemallow Artisanal launched in the summer of 2022, as a sweet way to create joy and celebrate the beauty and delectable flavors of California’s natural bounty. I’m a lifelong gardener, forager, and preserver. My kitchen shelves are lined with infused sugars, flavorful extractions, and homemade liqueurs, many made from ingredients harvested on my small urban farm, and all of which find their way into my confections. Rosemallow Artisanal is truly farm to table, pairing the freshest seasonal ingredients  with vibrant colors, dreamy swirls, and botanical accents to create an exquisite marriage of taste and beauty. We create small batch seasonal offerings every 4-7 weeks with new flavors based on a specific theme, sold as samplers inspired by boxes of truffles. Our Rosemallow samplers come with a tasting guide creating a distinctive, sophisticated treat.

Our current offerings are two chocolate-themed collections featuring festive fruit/herb and cocktail-inspired flavors. Chocolate Red Wine is light and fruity and topped with rose petals for extra wow. Tropical Chocolate Cocktail has bright, fruity notes of passionfruit and kiwi, underscored by rich organic fair trade chocolate. Chocolate Loquat takes you on a journey through cocoa, fennel and then light and beautiful loquat. Lavender-Mint Cocoa moves you through gold dusted cocoa nibs that burst with chocolate flavor and crunch, lavender-infused sugar, and lavender flowers and fresh mint—each moment revealing a different aspect of these elements.

Rosemallows are dietarily inclusive and allergen-friendly, free of gluten, dairy, and soy. There are also halal, kosher, and vegan offerings. My husband and daughter have celiac disease so I’m incredibly conscious and careful with potential allergens and food allergies. Sustainability is a driving ethos of the brand, and each order is wrapped in compostable packaging.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

When Rosemallow ingredients aren’t harvested directly from my small urban farm in Claremont, a small town just east of L.A., they’re sourced as locally as possible using peak seasonal produce. The two primary external sources for Rosemallows are Cal Poly Pomona’s Farm Store (https://www.cpp.edu/~farmstore/) and Uncommon Good (https://uncommongood.org/), because they offer high-quality, unique local produce and are strongly committed to the local community. They are also amazing places to visit. Cal Poly’s farm is a place to learn and enjoy remarkable local flavor. Their farm store is open daily, offering unique student-grown produce like rare magenta fleshed dragon fruit. They commonly hold public events—the October Pumpkin Festival, Spring Field Trips on the Farm, Sunday Arabian horse shows, and beekeeping workshops. Uncommon Good is a long-standing nonprofit organization focused on education, medicine, and the environment. They have a network of nine farms and two farmers who grow local, chemical-free produce that is available for free to low-income folks and on a donation basis for those who can contribute. You can purchase their produce at Uncommon Good’s Whole Earth building—located in Claremont off of Foothill Boulevard—the only permitted building of its type in LA County. You can wander in their native plant garden after purchasing their delectable, unique local produce!

If you’re in the Claremont area, hiking is a must! One of our favorite hiking areas is the Claremont Wilderness Park. There are approximately five miles of trails with views to downtown L.A. and the ocean and multiple microclimates. The area is large, giving a deep sense of relaxation and isolation. California Botanic Garden (https://www.calbg.org/) in Claremont is also a must-see to hike and explore California Native Plants. Right now the garden’s wildflowers are beginning to bloom and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Inspired by conservation, Rosemallow Artisanal’s upcoming offering will highlight California ecology. It will feature ingredients from California native plants and flavors such as: coyote mint and wild rose; cactus fruit sprinkled with Bay Laurel; redwood tips (slightly citrusy and piney) and candy cap mushrooms (deep maple syrup flavor);  toyon berries with white sage; manzanita flowers (light and floral) with pepperweed (a light peppery kick).

Downtown Claremont is a beautiful place to walk. City Hall is a pretty and historic building surrounded by shops, restaurants, and museums. My husband and daughter have celiacs so we can only eat at restaurants that are celiac safe. Our favorite restaurants in town are Gus’s BBQ (https://gussbbq.com/claremont/) in the Claremont Packing House and Saca’s Mediterranean in the Claremont Village (https://www.gotosacas.com/). Claremont Lewis Art Museum (https://clmoa.org/) is a short walk from there, located in the historic and renovated Santa Fe train depot. The building itself is a work of art and features three galleries of exhibitions. It has been called a jewel box because it is an intimate space with dense, rich, and emotionally evocative art and the museum is critically acclaimed. February-April they will be exhibiting Vince Skelly, who creates furniture from fallen trees.

Near Cal Poly in Walnut is one of our favorite restaurants, Native Fields (https://nativefieldsla.com/). They are truly farm to table, partnering with farmers who grow organic or in the spirit of organics. They are true partners of their community, organizing events to reduce local food insecurity and educating locals on why natural and organic foods are important to both society and the environment. Their food is just amazing. Their chef Cat Castaneda was mentored by Suzanne Goin, a James Beard award winner. Cat is the first to bring the Chez Panisse cooking style to the suburbs.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

There are so many people in my community, primarily other moms who have deeply supported the creation of Rosemallow Artisanal. There were times I wanted to give up and they convinced me to keep going. My friends and family have supported me in so many ways, from giving a hug or words of encouragement, to dropping off fruit from their trees and helping prep for events such as the Claremont Educational Foundation’s Chocolate Walk and the Cal Poly Pumpkin Fest Preview night. Others have gone so far above and beyond, sharing their skills and knowledge such as trademark and legal advice, writing press releases, modeling for photos and videos, and helping to develop my website. It’s been an amazing community effort.

There are some people I’d specifically like to highlight and I greatly appreciate their support through the process of creating Rosemallow Artisanal. First, photographer Becca Zeller (https://www.rebeccazeller.com/) did an extensive photo shoot, including the gorgeous photos submitted for this article. Monika Kunz (https://www.linkedin.com/in/monikavikunz/) has helped with business strategizing and coaching. Her perspective and ability to be a sounding board has been invaluable to me. Artist, writer, and friend, Sarah Davis has been there for hugs and encouragement both in person and through her podcast, Finding What’s True (https://linktr.ee/findingwhatstrue?fbclid=IwAR1-JHx65kLutgL4HWi6tnrt58W1lj6SVwKjdbwCY2CrHJH5iq_Y3FB0SNw). The conversations are very intimate, centered on noticing what’s true for you and using that deep knowing to guide you forward imperfectly in spite of it all. Jennifer Stark (https://www.facebook.com/JenniferStark2022/), Claremont’s former mayor and current city council member, has been a customer since Rosemallow Artisanal’s opening. She has hosted events with Rosemallow and is a kind human and a complete powerhouse. Rebecca Fox (https://foxrebecca.actor/) has been providing voiceover work, which will premiere on our upcoming social media content, and she’s amazing to work with. Finally, I’ve been honored to collaborate with Lois Blue Handmade (https://www.facebook.com/loisbluehandmade/) to sell their cards on our site so customers can receive a completely handmade, one-of-a-kind card.


Website: rosemallow.com

Instagram: @rosemallowArtisanal

Facebook: @rosemallowArtisanal

Image Credits
Becca Zeller

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.