Do you know how it is when a certain smell, on the spot, transports you back in time? It happens with songs too, but there’s something about certain “smells” that are so wonderful you can’t help but relive the memory.
That happened to me the first time I walked into the Chocolate Delicacy on Main Street in East Greenwich. For a moment, I was ten again, standing in front of the counter at Crands Candy Castle in Enfield, Connecticut (no longer in business). My family usually went once a year, around Mother’s Day, because Mom loved those old-fashioned fruit slices.
Dave Schaller, co-owner with his wife Marie, of Chocolate Delicacy, told me that every candy shop has its own distinct smell. I’m sure, to the discerning nose, that’s true. But to me, their shop sure smelled like my childhood had come back to East Greenwich, at least for a moment.
Speaking of childhood, Dave and Marie have been creating their candy since 1992, and are now seeing a second generation of candy-lovers coming through the door. People they sold chocolate to as children are now bringing their own kids in for a treat. What’s better than sharing that kind of happy memory with your children?
I went to the Chocolate Delicacy to talk candy, or more specifically, chocolate. I asked Dave to tell me a little about what it takes to make great chocolate. I didn’t have to ask twice – Dave is passionate about his profession. For a guy who started with a one-day candy-making course at RIC, Dave knows a LOT about making chocolate. He told me about the “temper” of the chocolate, and other things like butterfat, cocoa butter, mouth-feel, grain, beta and beta-prime crystals, conching, fermentation, and, well like I said, Dave knows a LOT about making chocolate.
So, I asked a simpler question: “What makes chocolate from their store so much better than chocolate from other shops?” He gave me an example. Conching is the process of stirring liquid chocolate, which is more important then you might think. The longer the chocolate is “conched”, the smoother the texture. Hershey conches their chocolate for 4 hours. Dave conches his for 40! He also pays attention to the quality of the cocoa beans, where they were grown, how long the beans were roasted and fermented, and, well you get the picture.
Marie handles the “business” side of the shop, as well as the many creative “after cooking” aspects, including packaging, specials, designs, sales, ordering, scheduling, and the rest. I imagine if you ever got a peek into her hat closet, you’d see quite a collection!
Marie told me that her favorite part of their business is seeing how their products bring such happiness to their customers. People are happy when they purchase products from Chocolate Delicacy, and they are just as happy to receive something from the shop. Marie loves to come up with unique and special ideas for gift baskets, weddings, holidays, birthdays, and more. Really, any occasion calls for candy, doesn’t it?
I just had to ask what was their favorite candy. Dave likes to make the almond bark, but loves to eat their caramel chocolate. Marie likes their chocolate caramel and nut clusters, commonly known as “turtles”. And yes, if you are wondering, the young people that work for Dave and Marie (more than 40 over the years) are allowed to eat the candy, but not when waiting on customers!
No matter what your taste in candy may be, Dave and Marie will take care of you. The Chocolate Delicacy offers hand-made truffles, fudge, panned chocolates, business and holidays gifts, and solid chocolate in a wide array of designs (baby, religious, flowers, hearts, nautical, sports, arts, and even Rhode Island themes). Be sure to visit their website; you will note that you can even buy chocolate quahogs!
The most important thing that Dave and Marie want their customers to know is that they love being part of this community. They enjoy sharing in their customers’ life celebrations, giving young people their first job, seeing the second generation of customers coming in the door, and knowing that their dedication and hard work creates a lot of happy customers. That is what makes their business so sweet!