Arkansas Capital loves showcasing outstanding local businesses, so when the recent opportunity to host a booth at the Arkansas Hospitality Association Vendor Showcase and Convention arose, we knew we had to take it. With our connections to some of the most incredible food and drink businesses in the market, the Arkansas Capital booth was sure to be a hit – and we were right.
Arkansas Capital received nominations for both the Outstanding Beverage Award (alcohol) and the First Time Exhibitor Award. Governor Asa Hutchinson even stopped by to purchase wine from Margie Raimondo of Raimondo Family Winery and chocolates from Carmen Portillo of Cocoa Belle Chocolates! In honor of their smashing success at our booth last week, we’re highlighting these two incredible businesses, and the positive impact each has on the growing Arkansas food and drink industry.
Located in quaint Mountain Home, Raimondo Family Winery brings tastes of Sicily to Arkansas with their quality extra virgin olive oils, balsamic vinegar, gourmet specialty foods and fine wines sourced from the family’s California vineyards. In fact, each product at Raimondo’s Family Winery only comes from the highest-quality, sustainable sources. Even the balsamic vinegars come from producers in Moden, Italy.
Raimondo Family Winery was founded by Margie Raimondo, who after spending more than two decades working in Silicon Valley, decided to dig into her Silician roots, move to the Ozarks and pursue her passion of owning a winery. She shares her love of good food and wine through the Raimondo Winery tasting room as well as her Simply Sicilian food blog and cooking classes.
The first Certified Professional Chocolatier in Arkansas and founder of Cocoa Belle Chocolates, Carmen Portillo was inspired by her time in Europe to bring delicious, artisan truffles to Little Rock. Each of her confections is made with only the highest-quality ingredients, and each is crafted by hand.
Her journey to becoming a chocolatier began when she moved to London, England, at age 19, and fell in love with the tiny chocolate shops that held cases of beautiful, delicious, artisan truffles. What started out as a sweet treat became a passion, and Carmen went on to study chocolate-making under world-renowned chefs at the Notter School for Confectionary and Chocolate Arts in Orlando and receive a certificate from Ecole Chocolat Professional Chocolate Arts.