Trick or treat, the grown-up version
Indulge in high-end Halloween goodies
By Lisa Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
Who doesn’t love a good Reese’s peanut butter cup?
But, in case you’re loathe to spend the calories on the kids’ candy, there is plenty of high-quality chocolate offering those craving a treat goodies worth the indulgence.
“No one buys our chocolate to hand out to trick or treaters in the neighborhood, it’s more for their own children, grandchildren or nieces and nephews,” said Theresa Anderson, owner of Swan Chocolates, 145 Main St. in Nashua. At Swan, there’s only one way to carve a pumpkin: with one’s teeth.
“This is a bit more upscale. It is a completely edible hollow Belgian chocolate pumpkin filled with pumpkin cream pie truffles that is just perfect for an adult Halloween goodie,” Anderson said.
The chocolate pumpkin shell is actually sprayed with an iridescent shimmer that’s edible and beautiful. Wrapped in clear cellophane and tied with a autumn orange bow, it makes a lovely gift.
“The harvest pumpkin is less kid-like and more for the whole season from Halloween to Thanksgiving,” Anderson said. New to the Halloween-themed treats at Swan this year is the gigantic apple, dipped in pure decadence (caramel and then a coating such as crispy rice cereal and chocolate) and sprinkled with flavor. The turtles are big sellers.
“They are dipped in handmade caramel, then in the Belgian milk chocolate, then coated in walnuts and marshmallows with a drizzle of milk chocolate,” Anderson said. Toppings for the chocolate-covered apples vary from toasted coconut to rice crispy treats. Also this year, making an appearance behind the candy counter at Swan is the Easter peep, dressed for Halloween.
“This is every adult’s addiction,” Anderson said. “It is a dipped marshmallow peep in our dark Belgian chocolate. If you haven’t ever had one, you need to.”
For the totally indulgent person who craves sweets and a little spirits, Van Otis Chocolate in Manchester has a treat that can’t be topped.
“That would be our chocolate dipped bottle of champagne,” said Dave Quinn, owner of Van Otis Chocolates, 341 Elm St. in Manchester. “It is a bottle of champagne literally dipped in chocolate, and we also have wine dipped in chocolate.” Van Otis also carries wine, including one called Vampire Wine, which can also be dipped in chocolate. “The wine is $37.99 and the presentation gold gift box [is] available for $5 — it really makes a nice presentation,” Quinn said.”It’s one of those Halloweenie type wines, and it’s quite good.”
For people who crave the taste of the season, Van Otis has carved out a new flavor of fudge, called pumpkin pie.
“I’ve been thrilled with its reception. All you need to do is get the whipped cream on top and you’d think you were having pumpkin pie,” Quinn said. “We use real pumpkin in the fudge and it’s a huge seller.”
While Swan and Van Otis make the most of the candy-giving season, they are the exception to most fine candy stores. Jeff Bart, who owns Granite State Candy in Concord, says he offers a few Halloween-themed candies and chocolates, such as jellied pumpkins and chocolate witches, but he doesn’t go overboard.
“It’s not a big time for high-end or premium candy people,” said Jeff Bart of Granite State Candy. “It’s not what people buy and its not what people give out; you just end up selling things for individual consumption or parties.” Bart says most people who shop his store during the Halloween season are looking to offer a nice sophisticated sweet for an office party or loved one.
The same is true in Manchester at Candy Kingdom.
“We’ve been here for 16 years and it’s not a big holiday because people buy the more inexpensive candies,” said Phyllis Capers, owner of Candy Kingdom. Capers says her biggest Halloween seller is the worms and dirt candied apple.
“It’s an apple dipped in caramel and then chocolate and then we use gummy worms and crushed Oreo cookies,” Capers said. A more requested seasonal favorite among customers at Candy Kingdom is the holiday cornucopia.
“It’s totally made out of chocolate, the shell is hollow and filled with chocolate peanut clusters,” Capers said.”We do them in three different sizes and they have chocolate dipped cashews spilling out of the cornucopia, we use fruit pectin leaves for color, marzipan and fruit made of chocolate.”
For local bakeries, Halloween isn’t a big season. At Patisserie Bleu in Nashua, owner Deb Soby has made a few Halloween-themed wedding cakes and does make a pumpkin-shaped cake, but doesn’t do much more in terms of themed baked goods. The same is true at Michelle’s Gourmet Pastries and Deli on Harvard Street in Manchester.
“I don’t know if we specifically go for Halloween; it’s more about offering fall items,” said Michelle Moulin, owner of Michelle’s Gourmet Pastries and Deli. For a quick taste of the season Michelle’s offers pumpkin cannolis, pumpkin cheesecake squares and pumpkin whoopie pies — “It’s a pumpkin cake with a cinnamon cream filling, and yes, they are selling.”