Gaylene Steinbach, chocolatier of Lincoln’s Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates, wasn’t always into candy making. But one year, her mother sent her a box of delicious, beautifully decorated chocolates and her interest was piqued. She began devouring––figuratively and literally––everything she could that was chocolate confectionary. She began experimenting on her friends and family and soon began leaving the state to attend workshops. That was the start of Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates.
Lulubee, named after Gaylene’s daughters, Lauren and Bailey (whose nicknames are Lu and Bee), launched in early 2016, after Gaylene’s friends and family encouraged her to turn her delicious hobby into a business. Her confections were named “Most Delectable Chocolate” at the 2016 Chocolate Lover’s Fantasy, and since then, orders have been pouring in and she’s enjoying her sweet new gig.
“My intention is to always provide a really beautiful tasting experience––something to savor and enjoy,” explains Gaylene. “I get to share that with people, and I love knowing that other people will share that with their own friends and family.”
Lulubee’s confections include chocolate bars, caramels, English toffee and a rotating selection of bonbons. Popular flavors include white chocolate raspberry, peanut butter, bananas Foster and one of Gaylene’s favorites––hazelnut gianduja. Made of roasted and crushed hazelnuts, the gianduja has a toasty, nutty flavor reminiscent of French or Belgian chocolates. The hazelnut gianduja was one of the flavors Gaylene debuted at Chocolate Lovers Fantasy, and an instant favorite.
“People would take a bite and then stop in their tracks and say, ‘Oh my,’ and that was the look I was going for,” says Gaylene.
Gaylene sources high-quality chocolate from top manufacturers and takes inspiration from the season for her ever-changing flavors. Her spring 2017 collection will debut in time for Easter and will include a salted caramel ganache, peanut butter bunnies, mint meltaway bunnies and cookie crunch egg-shaped bonbons.
By the box, Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates are available at Provisions by the Grey Plume in Omaha’s Midtown Crossing and at the Coffee Roaster located at 5022 Old Cheney Road in Lincoln. They can also be purchased by the piece at the Mill Coffee & Tea located at 800 P Street in Lincoln or by contacting Gaylene at 402.617.9072 or gaylene@LulubeeChocolates.com.
—By Alexis Zgud