At Cal, Vanessa Lavorato ’10, owner of Marigold Sweets and cohost of the TV show Bong Appétit, was like many another college undergraduate: She had a fondness for both cannabis and chocolate. But her appreciation was from an amateur’s perspective.
She hadn’t considered either substance as the foundation for a career until she chatted one day with Charles Muscatine, the renowned Berkeley Chaucer scholar. Muscatine was fired from his tutor’s position at the University in the 1950s for refusing to sign the McCarthy-era loyalty oath, only to be reinstated following a precedent-setting court case.
I realized that the Slow Food ethos had never been applied to cannabis edibles. You go into the dispensaries and they either have brownies and cookies that go stale quickly, or hard candies.
“It was my last year at Berkeley, and I was cooking and running errands for him,” recalls Lavorato. (Muscatine died from lung disease in 2010.)