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Gold Coast Candy brings Ghanaian-style sweet treats to Wisconsin

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A sweet treat — Ghana style. Gold Coast Candy brings Ghanaian style brittle to Wisconsin, along with its unique yet simple recipe to capture a taste of home.

Yaw Asare started Gold Coast Candy in Appleton to bring African inspired treats to customers all over Wisconsin. Gold Coast launched its brittle after Asare visited home in Ghana in 2018 and rediscovered a snack from his childhood. Asare wanted to find Ghanian style peanut brittle, or nkate cake as it’s known in Ghana, when he returned to the U.S. but could not find it. He opted to create his own true to traditional peanut brittle.

“There was a lot of positive feedback from family and friends on the snack,” Orson Fournillier of Gold Coast Candy said. “From that he decided to make that into a business.”

Asare started with around 300 packs of his brittle that he sold out of his house. He found a co-packer in Oconomowoc that also helped him refine the recipe. Fournillier later met Asare where he instantly fell in love with the business.

“Yaw and I talked about it for a while in terms of business,” Fournillier said. “At the heart of it, it’s about, how can we provide West African foods to our communities?”

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Sharay’s Ghana Style Brittle from Gold Coast keeps the recipe simple — exactly as Asare remembers it. The brittle uses only four ingredients: peanuts, sugar, salt and water. The taste is different from what you would find with peanut brittle that uses corn syrup, a heap of sugar and butter.

Gold Coast wants to keep the recipe as simple and healthy as possible – and keep your teeth intact. While average brittle is hard and sticks in your teeth, Gold Coast’s is a healthy, tooth friendly alternative.

“There’s so many customers who, when presented initially with the brittle, they’re like, ‘Well I can’t eat this because it’s got so much butter,’” Fournillier said. “Well not our brittle.”

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Health is a large factor for Gold Coast. The West African recipes that Osari grew up eating are already generally healthy and all natural, so the brittle has to be too. Sharay’s Ghana Style Brittle is soft and almost melts in your mouth with a rich nutty flavor instead of sugary sweetness.

Gold Coast even has a jingle for its brittle, Fournillier says: “The not too sweet nutty treat that doesn’t stick to your teeth.”

Bringing Ghanian brittle to Wisconsin has seen success on Gold Coast’s end. Sales have jumped from the initial 300 to 6,000. Gold Coast has since expanded to more recipes with cashew, pistachio, pecan and three-seed variations. The confectioners want to stay the same regardless of how much they expand — especially the recipe.

“We want to be true to the recipe and use what we know. We think it has value to the community,” Fournillier said. “We know that there’s a market for what we do, and we want to be true to that market — true to those customers.”

Gold Coast has since expanded into more confectioneries after buying its former copacker’s business when they opted to retire in 2021. When Sweet P’s Pantry’s owner, Sharon Pavich, decided to retire, Asare and Fournillier saw the opportunity to get their product into more stores and keep their former partner’s legacy alive.

Gold Coast Candy’s brittle can be found in over 20 stores around Wisconsin or ordered on its website. Confections from Sweet P’s are still available to purchase in stores and on its website.