Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Trip to Candy Land

Back in 1925, when Flapper dresses were the rage, Riddell Angell and Cora Phelps opened a chocolate shop in Daytona Beach. Sure, they sold salt water taffy, but their focus was on homemade chocolates. And three generations later the family continues making candy the same way, in fact, they still use some of the same copper kettles. 

"The key to our success," says owner Chuck Smith,  "is producing small batches daily. Maintaining the correct temperature is vital when working with chocolate, as is no humidity." You'd expect high quality ingredients and Angell & Phelps demands the best.  

The shop is located on Beach Street easily identified by a red and white awning over the front door. Complimentary 20-30 minute in-house tours acquaint guests with details about their carefully controlled production. The factory is quite small and large cottage windows give visitors a clear view of the operations.  Guests also learn the history of chocolate, how it is cultivated and the process necessary to make it edible. 

At Angell & Phelps, candy making begins with the mixing of the fillings, such as caramel or butter cream, and roasting the nuts. Then the fillings or fruit and nuts are coated in tempered chocolate. Each piece is inspected by hand before it is packaged.  
 
My favorite part of the tour was watching the finished chocolates move down a belt to a worker who selects, inspects and boxes them. The scene looked exactly like the episode of I Love Lucy when Ethel and Lucy worked  in a chocolate factory. I, too, got to taste a piece right off the belt.  Splain that one, Lucy Debi!

Well, I was able to enter the kitchen with a group being given a special behind-the-scenes tour. I was literally  a kid in a candy shop. The chocolate caramel tasted outrageous, almost sinful, an indulgence that gave me a chewy chocolate high and a good laugh.

Regular tours don't enter the kitchen, but always include chocolate tastings. Perhaps the heavenly taste has something to do with that angel in the name. I suspect Angell & Phelps chocolates will remain in business at least three more generations.A yummy place.
If you go:
Angell & Phellps Chocolates

154 S. Beach Street
Daytona Beach, FL
1 800 969 2634

Tours are given Monday through Friday mornings at 10 am, 11 am and in the afternoon at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm.  There are no tour given on Saturdays.

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