Last week I asked: What is the best gift on Valentine’s Day?
John and I write a chocolate column, so when we are bouncing around the United States and the rest of the world we are always on the lookout for chocolate-based stories.
We have enjoyed a $15 all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet in Hanoi, visited the Chocolate Museum in Bruges, a plantation in St. Lucia, and even a chocolate art studio in Prague.
We learned about the process of harvesting the cacao bean and turning it into chocolate.
They were all great but sometimes we forget to check out chocolate places close to home.
We recently discovered the “Man in the Moon Candies” chocolate store which is only a few miles from our home.
It was a wonderful find because not only do they have excellent chocolate but we found it a great place to purchase chocolate gifts and to sate our chocolate craving.
Chocolate is great for any occasion especially Valentine’s Day.
The owner, Amy Lear, comes from a famed local chocolate-making family.
In 1935, her grandparents, Ray and Gladys Stone, started a candy business by making hard candy suckers and later expanded to chocolate.
Their popular “Man in the Moon” suckers with a broad smiling face were made with a hand press that would mold three suckers at a time.
Amy has a little “museum” of chocolate-related artifacts.
One of her prized pieces is the large wooden mold similar to one that started the family’s love affair with chocolate.
And, the sucker that started it all is now the name of her chocolate store in Oswego, New York.
Her grandparents would be so proud!
I love it when heritage lives on.
And, speaking of heritage, Amy Lear uses chocolate to help promote Oswego, home to historic Fort Ontario where her husband, Paul, is the Historic Site Manager.
Amy makes a variety of logo chocolates and along with a chocolate bar with the store’s logo she has also created a wonderful chocolate replica of Fort Ontario.
Could there be any better souvenir to give visitors to Oswego?
The star-shaped fort high on the bluff overlooking Lake Ontario has been associated with all of America’s wars.
Gifting the chocolate fort is a great way to promote one of Oswego’s best historic attractions.
Man in the Moon Candies also has a beautiful chocolate creation representing the Oswego Lighthouse, the city’s icon.
Man in the Moon Candies has all varieties of chocolate including luscious Rum Truffles and it is the place to get Sponge Candy, that unique chocolate that was developed in the area around Lakes Erie and Ontario.
The inside tastes a bit like a molasses or caramelized sugar.
After savoring the chocolate covering – your choice: dark or milk chocolate, the delicate sponge part melts in your month.
Amy explained, “People love our chocolate because we use only the finest ingredients. But, our peanut brittle is also very popular. And, look at our display of Chocolate Truffle Gems.”
The gems were displayed like fine gem stones in crystal boxes.
Very imaginative and what a “sweet” way to propose!
I loved the sign in the store “The 12-Step Chocoholic Program. Never be more the 12 STEPS away from CHOCOLATE.”
And, to think we live so close and it took so many years to find this wonderful place that opened in 2005.
Now that I know the way, John and I are sure to be frequent visitors.
Trivia Tease™: What is there to do on Oahu?
Look for the answer next week.
Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!