for Chocolate Lovers
candy shops make
gift giving easy for the sweet tooth
variety of hard candies
among options available
Helen E. McKinney
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
by Patti Watson
Debra Fine learned
to make types of
delicious candies that
she sells at her store
on Main Street in
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
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 Annas Attic, and customers will be
able to come in and make fudge, Todd said.
A new addition to this holidays 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
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.
by Helen E. McKinney
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 youre in the mood to make candy to give as a gift, Pats
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.
Pats 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. Pats Bulk Food has been featured in Taste
of Home and Reminisce magazines.
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