I won’t beat around the bush: when it comes to Valentine’s Day, it just has to be chocolate. Am I right? Even the most painstakingly chosen gift adorned in fancy trimmings isn’t nearly as sweet without some chocolate-y goodness to go with it. And we’re all in luck this year, because Lehman’s is offering some of the choicest chocolates made in Ohio’s Amish Country, delivered directly to your doorstep. It’s a sweet tooth’s dream. Let’s take a little tour, shall we?
Our chocolate journey begins at a family-owned chocolate factory deep in Amish Country. And yes, that is real butter in the photo above. Lots and LOTS of real butter. Yep, this is farm country all right! And only the best and freshest ingredients will do for your Valentine (and you).
The small company employs many Amish ladies who, armed with the stellar kitchen skills their community is known for, turn out dozens of varieties of sweet confections that keep people coming back for more, and more, and more. Above, ingredients are added to the giant copper kettle, which mixes them into smooth, buttery caramel…
which is then spread out, the old-fashioned way, completely by hand.
After the caramels are shaped and cut…
they’re ready to be covered with sweet milk chocolate or rich dark chocolate, then hand-sprinkled with fine sea salt for the ultimate finishing touch. (I recently took an entire box of these chocolates to a gathering of friends … and I wasn’t fast enough to get a single one. Luckily, I know where to get more.)
If your Valentine’s not the caramel type, he or she might like to try a chocolate road apple. Crunchy peanut butter, crispy rice and marshmallows are coated with rich milk chocolate and affectionately named after the “apples” we dodge at times, since we share the roads with horse-drawn buggies and wagons.
And, for those who don’t like chocolate (because we DO realize those people exist, which means more chocolate for us…), delight them with our soft, hand-wrapped caramels, made with or without a dash of sea salt. They are not as good as homemade…they are EVEN BETTER because the work is done for you! They’re simply divine.
And now, back to the chocolate…
We invented the concoction above, and we have to admit, we’re pretty proud of it. Locally made caramel popcorn is mixed with crunched-up pieces of our best-selling (and also locally made) Gold’N Krisp potato chips, and THEN drizzled with smooth milk chocolate. Sweet and salty never tasted so good! (It’s also on sale just in time for Valentine’s Day.)
And finally, if your Valentine is an Ohio State fan (or just a chocolate-peanut butter fan), for goodness’ sake, get him/her some BUCKEYES! Happy Valentine’s Day from Amish Country!
Chocolate factory photos by Bruce Stambaugh.