The first time cannabis chocolatier Vanessa Lavorato tried a marijuana-infused edible, it was on 4/20, the national cannabis-culture holiday, and she was at a celebratory gathering in Santa Cruz. “I was really into baking pies at the time, so I made one with cannabis butter,” she says. “I had no idea how many milligrams were in the pie, I just winged it. It turned out delicious; almost to a fault. I had a weed hangover.”
Winging it is a thing of the past for Lavorato, 30, now a cannabis connoisseur with her own line of edibles called Marigold Sweets Confections. She prefers the term “cannabis” to “marijuana,” and her free-form baking has evolved into a scientific process of micro-dosing candy with a honey-like concentrate called CO2 oil.
Of Italian American heritage, Lavorato learned to cook with her Calabrese grandmother, and she developed her taste for chocolate as a high school student working part-time for See’s Candies. Her experiments with cannabis in chocolate began in 2010, while she was finishing up her studies at UC Berkeley. There she found the Slow Food movement — a roommate worked for Alice Waters — as well as an abundance of marijuana.
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