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Testimonials

"We ordered some fudge and caramels and they both tasted great!! Our order arrived on time, and was packaged very nicely. We also had some sent to our son at college for a treat. We will order again soon...."

Chris Maccoux

Our Story

At least the story behind the Stoughton Sweet Shoppe

Stoughton Sweet Shoppe is a family owned and operated business located in Stoughton, Wisconsin. We currently reside in our repurposed late 1930’s Cities Service Station. With a family name like Barman, it makes you wonder how we got into the Sweet business rather than the Bar business. It all starts with our family allergies. No, not allergies to beer or wine.

My tree nut allergy

At an early age I developed a severe allergy to all tree nuts. Looking back, it seemed my exposure to tree nuts revolved around desserts. Sometimes the presence of nuts is obvious making avoidance easy, like with a big almond or crushed walnuts sitting on top. But in most cases there is just no way to know. As is the norm, with each exposure my allergic reaction became more severe. For those of you who know food allergies, you may not be surprised that I would even react on occasion to plain chocolate candy bars that didn’t have tree nuts listed in the ingredients.

Research subject

In college, I jumped at the opportunity to be the guinea pig in a masters level research study testing whether candy manufacturers were cleaning their equipment well enough between their nut and no nut products. As you might guess, they weren’t. Since that time industry improvements have made it less risky to satisfy my sweet tooth; namely improved equipment cleansing along with improved food labeling that identifies the potential for cross contamination due to tree nuts processed on the same equipment or present in the same building. But eating sweets is still a risk.

My daughter’s allergy

I can eat peanuts (which for those of you who don’t know is a legume that grows in the ground not on a tree). My daughter is not so lucky. When she was one or two years old, we discovered that she was allergic to peanuts, and yes while she was sampling a dessert. Turns out she is allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. I never thought I would look at my tree nut allergy as a blessing, but growing up with the allergy prepared me for the rigor of protecting my daughter. A lot of that rigor involves checking every label of every food product we consider bringing into the house. We also ask extended family and parents of classmates to do the same. However, that fact is that some don’t and others try but don’t really understand. We make a point of erroring on the side of caution.

The need for nut free sweets

The good news is that due to our efforts our daughter has avoided exposure (knock on wood). The bad news is that she often feels left out, and misses out on the opportunity to enjoy a lot of sweets at school, at restaurants, and at family gatherings. We took it upon ourselves that rather than go without she would have access to even better sweets. Turns out she really likes fudge. That brings our story to the Stoughton Sweet Shoppe. We see the Sweet Shoppe as an important opportunity to build on our ability to offer safe sweets to our daughter by offering safe sweets to you and yours. We promise to bring to the Sweet Shoppe the same rigor that we practice at home, and honestly a degree more. Please see our Sweet Promise for the details.

We sincerely hope you feel safe enjoying our sweets; freshly made from the finest peanut and tree nut free ingredients.

Todd Barman (and family)

Postscript (PS)

I can’t help but offer up a few more pieces of evidence as to our qualifications (our taste testing needs to mean something).

I once had a tree nut reaction after only one bite of a soup served at a restaurant. According to the waiter, the soup wasn’t supposed to have nuts. I told him he was wrong and he checked with the cook. Turns out that the cook put what he thought was a harmless amount (teaspoon or tablespoon) into the day’s huge soup pot. That one bite was enough for me to know.

Due to the success of that equipment cleaning research study, I was contacted a few years later by the same researcher now working on her doctorate. Her new question was whether the introduction of allergenic proteins like Brazil nut into food plants like soybean by genetic engineering would lead to unforeseen allergic reactions. Turns out it did. That research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. And yes, that is my arm in Figure 3.

Not to leave Brenda out, she is allergic to seafood, so our sweets also freshly made from the finest seafood free ingredients.

Stoughton Sweet Shoppe is a family owned and operated business located in Stoughton, Wisconsin. We currently reside in our repurposed late 1930’s Cities Service Station. With a family name like Barman, it makes you wonder how we got into the Sweet business rather than the Bar business. It all starts with our family allergies. No, not allergies to beer or wine.

My tree nut allergy

At an early age I developed a severe allergy to all tree nuts. Looking back, it seemed my exposure to tree nuts revolved around desserts. Sometimes the presence of nuts is obvious making avoidance easy, like with a big almond or crushed walnuts sitting on top. But in most cases there is just no way to know. As is the norm, with each exposure my allergic reaction became more severe. For those of you who know food allergies, you may not be surprised that I would even react on occasion to plain chocolate candy bars that didn’t have tree nuts listed in the ingredients.

Research subject

In college, I jumped at the opportunity to be the guinea pig in a masters level research study testing whether candy manufacturers were cleaning their equipment well enough between their nut and no nut products. As you might guess, they weren’t. Since that time industry improvements have made it less risky to satisfy my sweet tooth; namely improved equipment cleansing along with improved food labeling that identifies the potential for cross contamination due to tree nuts processed on the same equipment or present in the same building. But eating sweets is still a risk.

My daughter’s allergy

I can eat peanuts (which for those of you who don’t know is a legume that grows in the ground not on a tree). My daughter is not so lucky. When she was one or two years old, we discovered that she was allergic to peanuts, and yes while she was sampling a dessert. Turns out she is allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. I never thought I would look at my tree nut allergy as a blessing, but growing up with the allergy prepared me for the rigor of protecting my daughter. A lot of that rigor involves checking every label of every food product we consider bringing into the house. We also ask extended family and parents of classmates to do the same. However, that fact is that some don’t and others try but don’t really understand. We make a point of erroring on the side of caution.

The need for nut free sweets

The good news is that due to our efforts our daughter has avoided exposure (knock on wood). The bad news is that she often feels left out, and misses out on the opportunity to enjoy a lot of sweets at school, at restaurants, and at family gatherings. We took it upon ourselves that rather than go without she would have access to even better sweets. Turns out she really likes fudge. That brings our story to the Stoughton Sweet Shoppe. We see the Sweet Shoppe as an important opportunity to build on our ability to offer safe sweets to our daughter by offering safe sweets to you and yours. We promise to bring to the Sweet Shoppe the same rigor that we practice at home, and honestly a degree more. Please see our Sweet Promise for the details.

We sincerely hope you feel safe enjoying our sweets; freshly made from the finest peanut and tree nut free ingredients.

Todd Barman (and family)

Postscript (PS)

I can’t help but offer up a few more pieces of evidence as to our qualifications (our taste testing needs to mean something).

I once had a tree nut reaction after only one bite of a soup served at a restaurant. According to the waiter, the soup wasn’t supposed to have nuts. I told him he was wrong and he checked with the cook. Turns out that the cook put what he thought was a harmless amount (teaspoon or tablespoon) into the day’s huge soup pot. That one bite was enough for me to know.

Due to the success of that equipment cleaning research study, I was contacted a few years later by the same researcher now working on her doctorate. Her new question was whether the introduction of allergenic proteins like Brazil nut into food plants like soybean by genetic engineering would lead to unforeseen allergic reactions. Turns out it did. That research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. And yes, that is my arm in Figure 3.

Not to leave Brenda out, she is allergic to seafood, so our sweets also freshly made from the finest seafood free ingredients.