Sweet Saba Candy is almost too beautiful to eat. Designs like evil eyes, lipsticks, mixtape, and Sharpie markers are delightful and delicate, and many of Sweet Saba’s candies contain 24K gold. But the candies are meant to be enjoyed – like the giant party crystal that Sweet Saba suggest you should chip at, like an ice block, and let the whole party enjoy. We think Sweet Saba Candy is about the chicest hostess gift you could ever arrive with, and knew that the person behind all this gorgeous deliciousness must be pretty chic herself (and know how to party). We caught up with the owner and designer, Maayan Zilberman, to pick her brain about inspiration and how she likes to host.
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I find inspiration from roaming the aisles at drugstores, grocery marts, traveling to small towns and seeing local products and packaging. A lot of my fantasy inspiration comes from watching the Discovery Channel or researching NASA footage from the 70s and most of all anything narrated by David Attenborough. I used to love following fashion, but more so in the days when shows were only a few times a year. For someone running a business it’s a luxury to take in new inspiration and to enjoy it, so pace and slowing down has a lot to do with it.
Family obviously means a lot to you. Do you have any family rituals centered around food?
When I was growing up we’d always end up in the kitchen late at night after a party or family gathering, “evening out the edges” of a cake… I keep that tradition alive by eating leftovers directly from the dessert tray.
Do you entertain at home?
I love to entertain at home. I can’t imagine entertaining at a restaurant where I can’t have everyone come hang out with me in the kitchen.
How would you describe your entertaining style?
Cozy, thoughtful, inclusive, and active. There’s usually an activity and there is always a gift for everyone to take home.
Besides making beautiful candy, do you cook anything else? Any go-to appetizers or things you like to serve at home?
I love finger foods. Recently, I did a make-your-own sushi party after a trip to Japan. I felt like Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club, but it came from my heart so I hope nobody took offense. I just learned how to make homemade ice cream so I’m thinking summer will be full of sundae stations!
5 essentials to a perfect party?
1.) Make sure everyone knows at least one other person, and introduce everyone even if they seem too shy.
2.) Do some research about each guest (stalk their social media) before your party so you have good questions for each guest. You want to make sure everyone feels included and appreciated.
3.) More is always better. More napkins, glasses, snacks, ice….You never want to send people out for anything.
4.) Keep a mirror in the kitchen. As a host, I often leave zero time for getting done up so I keep my makeup in the kitchen with a mirror.
5.) The right music and VOLUME is key. I spend a day or two making playlists for each party to make sure my guests hear songs they like, and I test the speakers an hour before guests show up to ensure everything works… And lighting. But doie.
What are 3 things that are always in your fridge?
Nail Polish, Butter, Sparkling Water
The most binge-worthy food?
French Fries, Cadbury Creme Eggs
What’s a food you think is totally overrated?
You launched a lingerie line (The Lake and Stars) before launching Sweet Saba, and you’re obviously very fashionable. What do you like to wear to entertain at home?
I like to dress up to entertain, it shows guests you take their attendance seriously and that you care as much about your personal presentation as you do the food and table settings.
When I entertain at home I like to wear something cinched at the waist so I can easily wear an apron (I have a custom one by Adam Selman) over my outfit while serving.
What’s the best hostess gift you’ve ever received?
My friend Dieter (who owns Tacombi) brought me a vintage deck of giant nudie playing cards. One day I can have a game night where we play with these, by then I hope to also acquire a giant Monopoly set and giant Jax or Yahtzee. That would be a fun party.
Are there any items you find yourself collecting? Anything you can’t seem to stop buying no matter how many you accrue?
I buy a lot of Wet ‘N Wild makeup, but I think I might have it all by now. I used to collect a lot of things, ‘til my wonderful friend Ilona Royce Smithkin (95 yrs old) told me “You don’t have to have everything in order to appreciate it.” I really took this to heart, I now see things and appreciate them, but don’t feel the need to take them all home with me.
If you could party with one person – living or dead – who would it be?