It all started with a second-generation Italian American family living in Southern California. When out of the clear blue SoCal sky, one of the 4 sons brings home a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, Junior-Leaguing, pearl-wearing southern debutante to announce their engagement. Yes, Enzo had done the unthinkable, he had fallen for a woman who didn't have a vowel at the end of her name and when Mama found out, the pasta hit the fan. At the time, unbeknownst to our founder Maria, it was the beginning of something big: Her future.
You see, Maria’s new sister-in-law, Merrilyn, didn’t just bring along her Southern charm, she brought her Kentucky chocolate pudding recipe (or Budino as the Italians know it), which landed her in Mama’s good graces. From there, chocolate pudding became a go-to staple at family gatherings and holidays.
Maria grew up making this family dessert and over the years perfected the recipe by honing both ingredients and methods used to create the magic it is today. Along the way she developed more innovative flavors. What started off as an addition to the family recipe book, grew into coveted and sought after bowls of pudding ingenuity. Pudding was catching.
So naturally, Maria brought her childhood friend Lauren, into the kitchen to teach her the ins and outs of pudding making. Maria and Lauren’s friendship goes back to their days at the “Jack & Jill” preschool, where shoe lace tying was considered a skill, the abacus was king and crayons led the way to artistic expression for a five-year-old.
As adults Maria and Lauren, both entrepreneurs at heart, gave up their well-respected careers, got serious about making pudding, and South & Spoon Pudding Company was born, offering luscious all-natural and preservative-free pudding mixes anyone can make at home.
With South & Spoon pudding mix, you don’t have to be a Southern debutant or Italian to have delightful home-style pudding on the tip of your spoon. Served warm, chilled or frozen, our puddings are a treat few can resist. Maria and Lauren both still play with crayons on occasion.
Founder + Pudding Chieftain
Favorite Pudding: Lemon
In One Sentence: Can design the pants off of literally ANYTHING! Loves girl chats and snuggles with her husband, Mark who is unendingly sarcastic and witty.
Born: D.C. but grew up in San Diego
Obsession: Loves all animals except... rodents, reptiles, arthropods and anything that flies; including the Tooth Fairy.
Impress Me: Daughter of a U.S. diplomat and entrenched in her Italian-American heritage, Maria learned how to entertain and hone her cooking skills from an early age. With 20 years as a successful corporate & residential interior designer, having founded her own firm, Maria has worked with elite clients up and down the California coast as well as various locations around the U.S. Her more notable corporate work includes the re-imaging of a major restaurant chain with more than 3,500 locations across the United States.
Pudding Inspiration: Bringing a big project to an end always meant a big wrap party, to which Maria invariably brought her coveted dessert puddings to serve to guests. Following these large parties Maria would get requests asking for recipes or where they could buy the pudding. Realizing she actually enjoyed whipping up pudding batches for these events, she decided that if she took her knowledge of the food industry and parlayed it with her amazing puddings, she could fulfill a dream of hers, and the South & Spoon Pudding Company was established.
Final Thoughts: As Maria says, “nobody ever died from a design emergency, now lack of chocolate… that’s another story." Hear, hear!
Mayor Of South & Spoon
Favorite Pudding: Salted Brown Sugar
In One Sentence: I like my tea like my men, hot and sweet!
Obsession: Learning. I want to know more!
Impress Me: Lauren earned her Bachelors in Fine Arts and moved up the coast to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film working for such companies as Sony Pictures/Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, SKA Films and LAIKA Entertainment to name a few. Her tenure in the film world has spanned 25 years and when asked about it she responds that she has many stories to tell her grandchildren. Most recently Lauren worked in the Bay Area for Plum Organics and the start-up Habit, a personalized nutrition company.
Pudding Inspiration: Lauren credits her time with Plum Organics and Habit for giving her a solid knowledge base of the inner workings of the food industry and what it takes to build a successful food brand from the ground up. Lauren loves being the business Yin to Maria's Yang, and the two make a dynamic team walking each other through the business of puddings daily.
MARIA & LAUREN
Rocking the sleepover