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Artisanal Chocolate in Indiana

Submitted by on January 28, 2014 – 7:21 pmNo Comment

indiana_bloomington_bluboyHand-made confections aren’t restricted to European boutiques. The fly-over district has some custom purveyors of sweet delights.

Here are some chocolate makers in the Hoosier state:

* Albanese Confectionery, 5441 East Lincoln Highway, Merrillville, Indiana, is perhaps best known for its gummy bears, but their chocolate delights include a super-sized peanut butter cup — not to mention chocolate-covered gummies. While you’re browsing (it’s just east of I-65) you can watch the candy-making through windows into the factory or sign up for a tour.

* BLU Boy Chocolate, 112 East Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, Indiana, is owned by German-American confectioner David Fletcher, who likens it to a small chocolate studio. The product descriptions are enough to make a connoisseur swoon: an orange hand-painted hemisphere filled with a soft blood orange dark chocolate ganache, a green hand-painted hemisphere filled with a peppermint dark chocolate soft ganache, strawberry dark chocolate ganache with Minus8 ice wine vinegar. You get the idea. It’s not near an interstate highway, but you can find Bloomington west of I-65.

* DeBrand Fine Chocolates has three locations in Fort Wayne, Indiana: 10105 Auburn Park Drive, 5608 Coldwater Road and 4110 West Jefferson Boulevard. Founded in 1987 by Cathy Brand-Beere (who made her first candies at age 8), it’s known for seasonal selections (including a 28-piece heart-shaped box for you-know-what holiday). Road Trips Foodies who are traveling farther afield than I-69 in northeast Indiana might find it easier to stop in at the newest location in The Avenues Mall, Fifth Ring Road, Kuwait. Tours are offered at the Auburn Park Drive location.

* Donaldson’s Finer Chocolates, 600 South State Road 39, Lebanon, Indiana (just west of I-65), has been handcrafting chocolates with with butter, whole milk, cane sugar, chocolate and “a lot of Hoosier pride” since 1966. While George and Peg Donaldson keep their recipes secret, their specialties include everything from crunches to melt-a-ways (don’t miss the Dark Select assortment including chocolate/raspberry centered butter creams).

* Ghyslain Chocolatier, 416 North 10th Street, Richmond, Indiana: The confections here are masterminded by Québec-born Ghyslain Maurais, who’s certified in French pastry, chocolate décor, candy making, blown/pulled sugar and bread making. He also has shops in Louisville, Kentucky, at 721 East Market Street, and 1215 Herr Lane in Westport Village. If you’re driving across I-70, make arrangements for a tour at ground zero: 350 West Deerfield Road, Union City, Indiana.

* Good’s Candy Shop, 1423 West 53rd Street, Anderson, Indiana, has been cranking out the “good stuff” since the 1940s. Current production is manned by Randy and his son, Jason — the fourth and fifth generation of candymakers. Head north from I-69 and check out the chocolate fudge, milk chocolate lollipops and other tasty treats.

* J. Evelyn Confections and Litterally Divine Toffee and Truffles, 15 West Main Street, Greenfield, Indiana, are two candymakers in one location just south of I-70. Jayne Hoadley commands the former, which specializes in sweet deliciousness boasting a freshness expiration date. The latter is masterminded by Suzanne Litteral, who began handcrafting confections in the 1990s.

* Kathy’s Kandies, 611 Main Street, Lafayette, Indiana, offers all sorts of sweets, but don’t miss their Aztec Truffles: chocolate with hints of cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Of course there are Valentine’s Day specialties, but this shop (not too far west of I-65) also offers St. Patrick’s Day goodies.

* Schimpff’s Confectionery, 147 Spring Street, Jeffersonville, Indiana, isn’t really known for its chocolates (its best-seller is cinammon red-hots), but the chocoholic shouldn’t overlook a related confection: choclate-covered cinnamon red-hot creams. It’s also a must-stop for candy fans due to its museum. Schimpff’s displays thousands of pieces of American candy memorabilia and represents decades of collecting candy equipment and artifacts. It’s just off I-65 and not too far north of I-71 and I-64.

* Stephen Libs Finer Chocolates, 6225 Vogel Road, Evansville, Indiana, is south of I-64 and west of I-69 (I-164). Established in 1985 by second-generation confectioner Stephen Libs and his wife Marjorie, it offers all sorts of goodies. Your Road Trips Foodie especially likes its selection of heart-shaped boxed. You can choose from more than a dozen, including one with a dinosaur, another painted in zebra stripes and (just for the guys) one that looks like a man’s dress shirt and tie.

(Photo courtesy of BLU Boy Chocolate)

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