It's high times in the sweets industry, especially for Chicago-based pastry chef Mindy Segal, owner of beloved Mindy's Hot Chocolate cafe and restaurant and author of this year's Cookie Love. This morning Segal confirmed a partnership with Cresco Labs, Illinois largest cannabis grower and seller of medical marijuana products. Segal is the first James Beard Award winning chef to develop and co-brand a line of pot edibles.
The initial run of products will include "chocolate brittle bars, a line of infused granola bites," and an infused chocolate beverage and ready-made mix to be served warm "to enhance the soothing effects."
Segal said in the release, "We've all heard the expression 'it tastes like medicine' but there's no reason it has to. With my recipes and Cresco's technology, we're developing this line of products to be consistent every time and absolutely enjoyable to eat." The initial line of sweets will be available by the end of February for distribution at licensed dispensaries within the state of Illinois. Next year, through distribution agreements, Cresco says five additional states will also sell the products. Montana, California, Nevada, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine have legalized weed for medical use; Colorado, Washington, and Oregon have legalized it for recreational use as well.
Segal is not approaching this new venture as a way to promote a line of gourmet pot brownies with her name on them, though the product and packaging has yet to be seen. The release indicates that Segal sees this as a way of "giving back to those suffering from chronic conditions by reinventing the marijuana-infused sweets industry," in the same way Segal is a member of community kitchens and Charlie Trotter's Culinary Education Foundation. It seems like a slightly different sort of community outreach, as Segal will likely profit from this new venture, but perhaps her name will help bring more of the medical benefits of marijuana to light, leaving the stigma associated with pot behind.