Tahana Confections

By Amanda Hoelzeman

Amanda Telford, founder of Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based Tahana Confections, got her start in the food and beverage business in the late 1990s when she began working at a brewery with an energetic, entrepreneurial group of people.
Over the years, the business grew steadily and Telford worked her way up to general manager. When she left, she took away years of small business experience and a fierce work ethic. She knew she wanted to take what she’d learned and apply it to a business of her own. She’d always loved caramels, as they represented the ultimate “little treat” for her, so in January 2012, she launched Tahana Confections.

In the two years she’s been in business, Telford’s offerings have grown to include about 10 different caramel flavors per year, as well as caramel sauces. Her focus remains on quality, and an extension of that, the experience her products create for all those who taste them. She strives to create a “moment” in someone’s – “a time that yours and yours alone, where you can close your eyes, take a bite, let your shoulders relax and just enjoy. If we can help create that slice of time for you, we’ve done our job,” she says.

Treatsie: How did you come up with the name Tahana?
Amanda Telford: Tahana is a merging of my two dogs’ names, Tahoe and Montana. I tried to merge my children’s names, but it didn’t really work!

T: What are the most unique ingredients you use? Do you source any locally?
AT: We source what we can locally. Our cream is pure dairy from a farm in New Hampshire, and we will be using espresso from a local coffee roaster here in Portsmouth for an upcoming caramel. Our most unique ingredients? Hmm, I did a basil caramel for a wedding last year and it was surprisingly tasty! Curry would probably be our second most unique ingredient, again for a special order.

T: What are your most popular flavors?
AT: Salted, then Ganache with Sea Salt, then Vanilla Bean.

T: What sets your caramels apart from others?
AT: The actual flavor and the melt-in-your-mouth consistency is what makes our caramels different from others. There are more and more pure caramels coming out and many are good, but we look to make the experience one that gives you a small treat in your day with great flavor and luxuriously satisfying consistency.