Athletes and Chocolate

August 10, 2011

What do chocolate and athletes have in common?  Apparently the ESPY awards, ESPN’s yearly award ceremony for athletes.

Daytona Beach based Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory found itself in a  unique situation in early July when it was named the official “gourmet chocolate sponsor” for the ESPYs.  The chocolatiers were asked to provide their exotic truffles for the award show attendees.

Truffles by Angell & Phelps

Athletes such as nominees Dirk Nowitzki (NBA), Serena Williams (tennis), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Lindsey Vonn (Olympic skier) and Cam Newton (football) were a few who found Angell & Phelps treats in their celebrity gift bags this year.

Angell & Phelps truffle variety pack includes:

  • Milk Chocolate Truffles
  • Rum Milk Chocolate Truffles
  • Champagne Dark Chocolate Truffles
  • Amaretto Milk Chocolate Truffles
  • Raspberry Dark Chocolate Truffles

With a Groupon about to expire, we headed to the chocolate factory on Beach Street in old downtown Daytona Beach over the weekend.

The Chocolate Factory Tour

Angell & Phelps conducts a Chocolate Tour at least four times a day and we caught the last one at 4:00pm. Although fun, the tour isn’t very impressive.  You look through windows into the area where potato chips are being coated with chocolate, where white chocolate is kept at a constant 89 degrees for melting, and where the chocolates are boxed up for shipping. Maybe it was just late in the day, or maybe the workers dislike being on display, but no one seemed very happy.

How chocolate covered potato chips are made.

 

A worker prepares each chocolate covered chip by impressing the grooves on the potato chips.

 

White Chocolate melting machine

After the tour, we stood staring at all the choices behind the counter. To spend my $20 Groupon, we  diversified — a slice of chocolate fudge, a slice of maple nut fudge, several Honey Bees ( similar to Turtles and even more delicious).   The absolute best of our selections was the Dark Chocolate  Covered Cherries.  Now these were worth the trip. They are exquisite and some of the best candy we have ever tasted.

The Acclaimed Truffles

The Espy Truffles didn’t receive much enthusiasm from the crowd of 30 or more people at the last tour on Saturday.  But I for one had to give them a try. I bought two — a champagne truffle and a raspberry truffle. They were delicious, but still couldn’t top the chocolate covered cherries.

I wasn’t overwhelmed by the Angell & Phelps chocolate or their small factory. It’s a very small operation and I’m surprised they were able to accommodate such a big order as the Espy Awards.  The workers rarely smiled, one lady behind the candy counter rudely ignored us, and the overall feel of the store was less than exciting.

Will I go back? Possibly… for the chocolate covered cherries.  However, my heart still belongs to a particular little chocolate shop in Zürich, Switzerland. And state side, it lies with a certain northern chocolate shop – Stefanelli’s Candies – located in Erie, Pennsylvania.

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Chocolatiers

February 16, 2011

As a treat for myself before Valentine’s Day,  I finally watched the 2000 movie Chocolat, starring Juliet Binoche and Johnny Depp.  A mysterious chocolatier (Binoche) sets up shop across from a church in a small French village and disrupts the predictable day to day life there. Basically the movie is about how chocolate can bring people together, and bring happiness to life. 

Watching this made me wonder whether there are any true chocolatiers here in Florida. They may not be like the one in the movie, but surely a unique shop, not a chain, exists somewhere in this state.

THE LIST

Now I’m on a new quest — to find a unique chocolatier in the state of Florida. For this, I have devised a list of shops close to home to visit first:

  • Angell & Phelps (Daytona Beach)
  • Chocolate Connoisseurs (Winter Park)
  • Danay’s Candies (Orlando)
  • Caffe Chocolat (Titusville)
  • Whetstone Chocolates (St. Augustine)
  • Claude’s Chocolates (St. Augustine)

As I was devising this initial list, an email with the Groupon deal of the day arrived, offering a $20 Groupon to Daytona Beach’s Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory for only $10.  Not only does Angell & Phelps sell chocolate, they also let you tour their kitchen and chocolate factory. This will be my first stop.

Jumping online for a little chocolate research, I came across a surprise website and blog for the Chocolate University Online.  I am thrilled that this chocolatier, Bryn Kirk,  found another way to get chocolate to the masses. Kirk even offers a free eBook, 101 Things You Must Know About Chocolate, and free information on her website such as  21 Things You Must Know About Chocolate.

As for my having to consume a large quantity of chocolate in order to complete this quest, that won’t be necessary. I’m looking more for ambiance. For style.  And yes, a somewhat European flair. I most likely will, however, in the name of research of course,  have to sample just a few.