Thursday, April 9, 2009

Like a kid in a candy store

It wasn't the typical weekly meeting for my chit-chat group of Italian friends called "Le Matte."
This week we met at a chocolate factory. And it was bliss.

The above photo is of some marshmallow "peeps" after a dip in milk chocolate.

Here is a photo of the dipping machines - white, dark and milk chocolate.

This magical place is the David Bradley Chocolatier factory, in Windsor, New Jersey. We were lucky enough to be given a tour by Christine O'Brien, daughter of the owners Robert and Marcy Hicks, who founded the company in 1978 under the name "Sophisticated Chocolates."

First, she let us choose some fruit and dip it into those chocolate tanks. Some of us chose big luscious strawberries. Some of us chose big fat orange segments. Some of us chose big luscious strawberries and then went back for big fat orange segments. Dipped in dark chocolate.
Yum. Excuse me while I savor the moment.

But that's not all. We kept touring the place and tasting as we went along. Solid chocolate, potato chips dipped in chocolate, oreos dipped in chocolate, you name it. You like milk or white chocolate rather than dark? Chris was very accommodating and gave us samples of whatever flavor we liked. Of course, we all shopped and shopped later on in the outlet store next to the factory.

In addition to their three retail outlets, in Windsor, N.J., Cherry Hill, N.J. and Manalapan, N.J., the company sells to lots of stores across the country, including upscale places like Barneys in New York. Many of their products are also sold under private labels. Their busiest time is Christmas, when lots of corporate clients place orders. But they're pretty busy right now too, with bunnies and eggs and other Easter items taking priority. Chris said that they go through about 2500 pounds of chocolate a week.
Everything is made to order and made fresh daily. "We are working a little harder, but it's going to taste better," Chris said. Their stuff doesn't go to the big box stores where you don't know how long ago it was made. If you're buying candy for Easter from their shelves, you know it was made within a day or two.

Here's one of the workers filling the molds by hand.

And here are some of the bunnies that are ready for packaging:

or milk:
They also make novelty items like chocolate lollipops in the shapes of stars. They'll also make specially-designed items for events like baby showers, weddings or other occasions. You can check them out on their website:

And here's a photo of some of "le matte" getting ready to checkout -
Milena, Eleanor, Paola, Shirley, Dede, Rena and Linda


  1. Oh Yum! I just devoured my Condorelli Easter Egg (this company is up on Mt. Etna) and it was sooooooo good. Hooray for chocolate!!

  2. How cool to visit a candy factory. and what a great idea to dip peeps in chocolate.

  3. What a nice day for you & your group Linda! I'm so jealous ;) I could really get into that line of work. Happy Easter!

  4. Awwwwww those yellow bunnies are so cute I could die!!!

  5. I've had chocolate covered peeps before. They were good, but SO SUGARY!

  6. What a fun excursion!

    Jacques Torres is also selling chocolate dipped Peeps -- it took great restraint for me not to buy them.

    Thanks for the idea to visit Newark, NJ. I did visit the iron bound area once or twice but it's been awhile. The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens also has cherry trees and if I'm lucky to time it right I hope to see them in bloom in a few weeks.

    Buona Pasqua!

  7. Magical, that's the word! Wow, a great visit!



  8. I am going to push my way into this group of ladies...I promise to be good, will you let me come to the next tour?????

  9. What a great looking group you all are! I'd loike to push my way in along with Stacey!
    Happy Easter my friend!
    Hugs, Marie

  10. Oh I love it....what a wonderful looking group of ladies...I can't wait to go see this shop next week...I will be in chocolate heaven!! Have a Wonderful Easter..and your prime rib looked terrific....Sue.

  11. chocolate covered peeps? WOW! great idea. Hope "le Matte" all had a buona Pasqua!