Sir Walter Candy Company’s Opening a Sweet Treat for SLC
Salt Lake City—Like all of us, when Alfonso Porras was a child, he loved candy. Unlike the rest of us, however, Porras met his very own fairy godfather who helped him achieve his dreams of becoming a chocolatier—and just last week, Porras and his family cut the ribbon on a new retail location of their candy company.
When Porras was a young man living in Mexico City, his sister went to learn English in New Jersey, living with a host family. Part of that host family, a man named Walter Zittle, would bore his sister completely with stories about candy—stories that enraptured Porras. Years later, Zittle gave Porras a book containing his candy recipes and confectionary secrets. Inspired, Porras created Sir Walter Candy.
Sir Walter Candy Company started small. “We started in a little trailer. We used to sell spiced pecans,” said Porras. “Our kids used to hand them out as samples at farmer’s markets.”
Every member of Porras’ family has been intimately involved in the company—the children since childhood. They don’t let him forget the ages, he jokes: “The kids grew up in the business. Amir started at eight years old in the trailer. Melissa was five or six. Brandon was maybe three years old.”
All the children are still involved. Amir Porras is the company’s confections specialist and vice president. Brandon Porras is the operations manager. Melissa Porras-Garcia is the marketing director. They still know how to make the recipes, bag the products, run the manufacturing floor. Brandon can still recount how long it took the family to perfect their peanut brittle recipe: the secret, he says, is using large copper cookware when making the caramel.
In time, the company grew to two L.A. locations, but then Porras and his family decided it was time for a change. Porras wanted more space, a manufacturing area where he could make candy the way he wanted to—the way Zittle inspired him to. It was serendipity: just as Porras and his wife were weighing whether to make the move to Utah, they met the landlord of their current space at a trade show.
“It was a tea and coffee show where we were trying to get accounts for our pecans. We showed them to somebody at the trade show and I looked at their card and it said ‘Utah,'” said Porras. “[The landlord] said: ‘If you want to move to UT and you want to manufacture, we have a kitchen that you can rent from us, because our tenant is leaving in six months.’ That was kind of like, wow.”
“That was the answer,” laughs Alejandra Porras, creative designer and product developer and wife of Alfonso.
Sir Walter Candy has been in Utah since 2008, but previously worked in manufacturing, making products for Harmons and other companies, says Porras. His knowledge of candy-making allows Porras to work with small artisans, to help create recipes for them or to correctly scale small-batch recipes for larger production. With the new retail storefront, Porras now wants to showcase his “U.S. meets Europe” line of chocolates, the Sir Walter line.
“There’s products we love to make where we want people to come and enjoy something that’s really good,” he said. “Here you have regular caramels, but we have a chipotle one, or champagne or sea salt. These are regular American-style clusters, but with Belgian chocolate. The same thing with the marshmallows. We make our own marshmallows, and this is all kosher. It’s dipped in Belgian chocolate and tossed in coconuts or almonds.”
The retail line also includes gourmet popcorns with flavors like caramel, rocky road, or cinnamon toffee. Homemade fudge in flavors like mango are also favorites, along with butter toffee cashews, cinnamon toffee almonds, peanut brittle—and of course, the original sweet toasted pecans once sold out of the original trailer window.
“We wanted not just to do things with regular chocolate, but something that’s awesome,” said Porras.
Sir Walter Candy Company’s retail location can be found at 155 W Malvern Avenue, Suite B, Salt Lake City, or online at www.sirwaltercandy.com.