From 1792 to 1933, my ancestors ran the oldest apothecary in the United States. Known as the chemists of their day, apothecaries dispensed elixirs for medicinal purposes. As a scientist myself who believes that food is the best medicine, I’m reviving my family’s legacy by offering my own prescription for feeling better: delicious all-natural peppermint bark. Hand-crafted with premium dark and white chocolates, topped with bits of organic candy cane and infused with peppermint, this timeless treat is sure to remedy all that ails you.
By day, Ben Smith, proprietor of The Apothecary’s Kitchen, works as a scientist, performing experiments in a lab and helping the companies he works for operate more sustainably. At home, he applies a similar focus towards his cooking. His training has proved to be a complimentary fit alongside his passion for local and delicious food prepared using top quality ingredients. An avid home cook, Ben’s food journey began later in life when he started baking homemade breads and scones and entering them in the state fair. Encouraged by his wife (also an entrepreneur) and a blue ribbon win, he began experimenting with different foods and recipes until he landed upon what has now become his very popular peppermint bark.
The name “The Apothecary’s Kitchen” is a nod to his family’s lineage and refers to the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary, the oldest apothecary in the United States. Run by his ancestors from 1796-1933, the space is well preserved with tinctures and herbs and apothecary cabinets and bottles still on display. It is now a museum in old town Alexandria, Virginia.