Two years ago, Alexandra Griffin and Kelly Andreoni started out like lots of East Bay culinary creatives: At Hope & Main, refining their recipes to make the perfect product – in this case, pudding. Now, Pudding Riot is raising the standards beyond chocolate or vanilla snack cups; think inspired flavors like cereal milk, pumpkin spice, and maple, plus a ton of fun toppings and pie and frozen pop varieties. With success burgeoning thanks to local pop up events and special orders, we took a moment to chat with Kelly about their start, their plans, and most importantly, why pudding?
Tell me about the inception and start of Pudding Riot.
I have always loved cooking, and making desserts has long been a passion of mine. I’ve been making pudding from scratch for years, and people would often marvel at how different it was from the commercially available products they were used to. It was as if I was introducing them to pudding for the first time. I realized I was giving people a different experience with a classic dessert that is often overlooked or otherwise forgotten, and there was potential for this to be a business.
Alex and I joined forces and began working on what would come to be Pudding Riot. We started experimenting with flavors in the spring of 2017 and later completed the Cohort program at Hope & Main. We started producing there in August of 2018, and graduated to a commercial kitchen space in Pawtucket in January.
When done right, pudding is the ultimate comfort dessert – it’s creamy, flavorful, and luxurious. People aren’t accustomed to thinking about pudding as an upscale dessert, but it has become our mission to change that perception. Small-batch, handcooked pudding is amazing and we wanted to give people something the mass market machines couldn’t.
How do you come up with flavors, and what are some of the most creative and popular ones? Do you have a favorite?
We are constantly working on new flavors, and are very much inspired by the seasons. We usually have at least one core flavor in rotation (Butterscotch, Madagascar Vanilla, or Bittersweet Chocolate) but pride ourselves on introducing more unusual flavors at each event. Coffee Milk is one of our most popular flavors, handmade with coffee beans from Borealis in Riverside. Maple has been another very popular flavor that is sweetened entirely with pure maple syrup, and Vegan Peanut Butter pudding has been a hit as well. We also make various flavors of frozen pudding pops dipped in chocolate and rolled in crunchy coatings, and we are working on a signature Bread Pudding.
Do you have a favorite?
My all-time favorite is probably Bittersweet Chocolate Mint, and Alex loves Lemon Basil (we will debut that one in the warmer months).
Any exciting new flavors in the works particularly for the new year?
Yes! We are working on a Cookie Dough pudding to roll out in the spring! We are also developing monthly specials inspired by strong women throughout history.