Gifts for Chocolate Lovers

Area candy shops make
gift giving easy for the sweet tooth

Chocolate, variety of hard candies
among options available

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

Buying just the right gift to please the person with a sweet tooth on your Christmas list can be challenging. Many options abound throughout the region for the chocolate lover who can savor a present right down to the last bite.
For the last seven years, Betty Todd has made fudge and other sweet treats for the Madison Fudge Factory, located at 630 W. Main St. in Madison, Ind. Jim Grant opened the business in 2000, and Todd has learned to make fudge and other confections in large quantities since she began working there.

Debra Fine

Photo by Patti Watson

Cocoa Safari
Chocolates owner
Debra Fine learned
to make types of
delicious candies that
she sells at her store
on Main Street in
Madison, Ind.

The store carries more than 50 different fudge flavors and many seasonal flavors during the holidays. Fudge flavors include cherry vanilla nut, cookie dough, cherry praline, caramel cream, amaretto chocolate swirl and raspberry chocolate swirl. In addition to handmade fudge, the business also sells cakes, coffees, taffy, jams, salsas and toys.
When combined with the bed and breakfast that Grant operates, the Fudge Factory offers some “unique combinations,” said Todd. The bed and breakfast is undergoing a name change from the Madison Fudge Factory Guest Suites to Aunt Anna’s Attic, and customers will be able to “come in and make fudge,” Todd said.
A new addition to this holiday’s offerings will be fudge-topped pies. Flavors include pecan, apple and fruit options, said Todd. “We also plan to do fudge-topped cupcakes and large fudge-topped chocolate cookies.”
Gift certificates can be purchased at the Fudge Factory for chocolate lovers to choose their own treats. Gifts baskets, labeled “A Piece of Madison,” can be purchased for $20 and up.
Todd said offerings found at the Fudge Factory are “as close to handmade as grandma can make.” The atmosphere of the specialty store has a lot to do with its appeal to local and out-of-town customers. “The whole feeling of coming into the shop reflects the personality of Mr. Grant. The atmosphere is eclectic and unique. We want to make customers feel at home and know we appreciate them.”
Cocoa Safari Chocolates at 118 W. Main St. in Madison always carries certain standards for the holidays, said owner Debra Fine. “Peppermint bark is always a big seller at Christmas time,” she said, as well as eggnog and cranberry-orange flavored truffles.
All candy is handmade at Cocoa Safari Chocolates and “only premium chocolate is used, which makes the difference,” said Fine. She even makes all centers in the cream candies, including caramel.
Fine, who learned to make chocolate candies such as bon bons and truffles from trial and error, can create specialty gift baskets. “You know what a person on your list likes, so many times people want to pick out what to include in baskets.”
Baskets can include candy and other items she carries such as hot chocolate packages and canisters, chocolate-covered coffee beans and pretzels, and T-shirts and aprons with chocolate-themed sayings on them.
“A lot of companies order corporate gifts for their clients,” she said. This can be a personalized gift, said Fine. She uses chocolates from around the world and natural flavorings.
Serendipity Café at 116 E. Main St. in La Grange, Ky., specializes in homemade candies. Becky Kimbler, who co-owns the business with Lillian Bayer, said “chocolate-dipped Twinkies are a favorite.” Cinnamon candies and springerles rate a close second in terms of popularity.

Lillian Bayer, Becky Kimbler

Photo by Helen E. McKinney

Serendipity Cafe co-owners Lillian
Bayer and her daughter, Becky Kimbler,
specialize in homemade candies that
they make at their La Grange, Ky., store.

Kimbler can create special Christmas-themed tins or gift boxed orders for individuals. She also offers baskets and gift certificates, and stocks a full gift shop.
“We carry 40 different kinds of chocolate candies,” she said. Eggnog truffles and white chocolate peppermint truffles are favorites, in addition to bourbon balls. Other handmade specialty items found at Serendipity include frozen hot chocolate and pies. Red velvet and Italian crème cakes are often requested during the holidays. 
If you’re in the mood to make candy to give as a gift, Pat’s Bulk Food at 4492 S. Hwy. 421 in Correct, Ind., is just 20 minutes north of Madison. In business for the last 21 years, owner Pat Conant stocks a variety of candy making supplies, such as milk chocolate and white candy coating sold in 2- to 10-pound bags, candy molds, boxes, sucker sticks, and sugar-free candy making supplies.
“I have a lot of customers come in looking for flavored oils for hard candy,” said Conant. She stocks 30 to 40 different flavors including cinnamon, peppermint and cherry.
Conant buys her inventory from 25 to 30 different suppliers. “I go after quality, not just a good price,” she said.
Pat’s Bulk Food also sells ready-made candy, such as chocolate cream drops, bon bons, chocolate covered peanuts and chocolate covered raisins. In addition to local customers, Conant said she gets a lot of customers from Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Louisville.
She sells gift certificates and said customers “enjoy coming in and filling gift baskets for people on their Christmas lists that are hard to buy for. Baskets filled with practical items can also make unique gifts.” Specialty items can be found in her store to assemble baking, cooking or snack-themed baskets.
Conant sells local honey, jellies, spices, dried fruit, dried vegetables and a variety of gluten-free products. She often puts out samples and has recipes for extremely simple candies that require only two to three ingredients to make. Pat’s Bulk Food has been featured in “Taste of Home” and “Reminisce” magazines.

Back to December 2011 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta