Chocolatiers Enjoy a Storied and Sweet History on the Eastern Shore
This Valentine’s Day, treat your special someone to handmade chocolates, made locally and with the finest ingredients. “When you love someone, you feed them, and the best way to do that is through chocolate,” says Brandy Widdowson, owner of Sweet Serenity Chocolates in Seaford.
Positioned near the very top of this vacation checklist is a fun-filled visit to Candy Kitchen — the fourth-generation, family-owned-and-operated, wonderful world of candy that has been an integral part of the resort’s landscape for over 80 years.
Founded in 1937 by their uncle, Sam Taustin, Bruce Leiner and Jay Taustin now own more than 20 Candy Kitchen retail stores stretching the beaches from Rehoboth to Virginia Beach — all of which are operated by the Leiner family: Bruce; his wife, Cindy; their children, Josh and Jesse; and daughter-in-law Jill.
Candy Kitchen produces all of its deliciously famous saltwater taffy, fudge and chocolates at its original 53rd Street candy factory and production complex in Ocean City and has done so since about 1940.
Their recipe for success includes using the freshest, high-quality ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible, such as cream and butter from Lewes Dairy.
“The key ingredient is hand labor,” Bruce said. “Even with today’s technology, most of our candies are still handmade, the old-fashioned way, and our employees take tremendous pride in their work. Every single nut cluster is still dipped by hand — so is every bark and every gourmet pretzel. We make the caramel for our famous King Tut in small batches — only 12 slabs at a time. Tomorrow it will be hand-coated on both sides with milk chocolate.” It’s their delicious milk and dark chocolates that reside at the heart of Candy Kitchen’s sweetness and success. “The key to good chocolate is that it should have an excellent flavor and be smooth and creamy, like velvet,” Bruce said.
When Don and Katy Kilwin began hand-crafting Chocolates in the late 1940s, they used only the best chocolate and other fine ingredients. Kilwins’ chocolates are made the same today, handcrafted in their Petoskey, MI, kitchen using the tried-and-true recipes developed by Don Kilwin himself.
Whether it be their signature tuttles, smooth and decadently rich truffles or soft silky creams, it takes just one bite to know why people have loved Kilwins chocolates for generations.
Sweet Serenity Chocolates
Sweet Serenity Chocolates has been making mouth-watering truffles in flavors like pumpkin cheesecake and apple spice for
15 years in their Seaford store.
Owner Brandy Widdowson prides herself on creating customized creations for local and national clients who are looking for any kind of chocolate to celebrate. Truffle flavors rotate with each season, but the wedding-cake- and birthday-cake-flavored truffles remain enduring favorites. The shop also sells chocolate creations, like dark chocolate cherry bombs and flavored chocolate bark.
Sweet Serenity ships locally and nationally and offers the full range of their sweet creations in their Sussex County store.
In 1906, the father-son duo of Rudolph Dolle Sr. and Rudolph Dolle traveled to the budding beach town of Ocean City to scope out property for their hand-carved carousel. They loved the resort and promptly purchased a piece of land on the corner of Wicomico Street and the Boardwalk.
Four years later, Rudolph Dolle Sr. acquired a small saltwater taffy stand on the same property and Dolle’s Candyland was born. Today, four Dolle’s locations dot the town’s landscape, and while their world-famous saltwater taffy is what the family is known most for, their handmade chocolates have quite the following, too.
Nearly each variety of chocolate is made in its factory on Wicomico Street and the Boardwalk. Using the finest real chocolate and high-quality ingredients, each filling, from jellies to creams, is made in small batches to ensure the most wonderful flavors and textures possible.
West Ocean City
Now in its fifth generation of candy-making, family-owned Wockenfuss Candies will celebrate its 105th anniversary in 2020.
Herman Charles Wockenfuss came to America in 1885 at age 10 and eventually learned how to make candy. In 1915, he proudly began the Wockenfuss Candy Company.
There are currently eight retail stores throughout Maryland, including two locations in Ocean City. Ten members of the Wockenfuss family spanning four generations are involved in the business today, all of which eagerly looking forward to the next 100 years of delicious success.
Locally owned for 80 years, Rehoboth’s Snyder’s Candy has been a summer destination on Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth Beach since 1940. While most known for its old-time flavored fountain drinks, Snyder’s boasts tasty treats from chocolates, imported licorices, nostalgic candy selections and an extensive gluten- free menu.
Praise for Snyder’s Candy has come from high places: Food Network Magazine tabbed Snyder’s taffy as “Delaware’s Sweetest Treat” and Every Day With Rachel Ray Magazine previously named Snyder’s saltwater taffy as one of “America’s 51 Best Mail-Order Foods.”
Check out their extensive online shopping experience, too.