Metro-East Living

Peppermint bark is the main attraction at chocolate factory tour

There’s no end to lucky breaks for our videographer Jaye Hodges. Last week, she had the not-so-difficult task of watching chocolate being made by hand in St. Louis.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate has been around for 35 years (anniversary is Feb. 1) in St. Louis. Metro-east candy lovers can find its products at retail shops in Shiloh and Edwardsville, as well as in some bi-state supermarkets.

The new factory (with retail shop) is on The Hill in South St. Louis. Visitors can take a free tour and see original recipes slowly cooked in copper kettles and stirred by hand. Chocolates are hand-decorated or “striped” and polished before packaged into boxes.

Owner Dan Abel Jr. and family are glad to tell you that only premium ingredients are used in all of the chocolates, including fresh whole milk and whipping cream, pure cane sugar, grade AA butter, pure Madagascar vanilla extract and fresh fruit.

Jaye got to see peppermint bark being made when she took the tour and did some videotaping. It’s popular enough that about 100 pounds are made every day in the factory during the holiday season.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate’s recipes are top secret, so I found a peppermint bark recipe that readers can make at home.

To see how Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate makes its bark, go to BND.com for the video.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Factory Tour

What: See handmade chocolate created during free tour

When: Tours run every half-hour, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday (no tours noon to 1 p.m). No candy making on most Saturdays, but tours are still held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Closed Dec. 23 and Jan. 2.

Where: 5025 Pattison Ave., St. Louis; factory and retail store at this location

Reservations: Recommended; required for Saturday tours, groups of six or more.

Information/reservations: 314-381-3501 or chocolatechocolate.com.

Peppermint Bark

4 ounces high-quality white chocolate chips

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

2 ounces dark chocolate chips

10 regular-sized candy canes, crushed

Put 2 cookie sheets in the freezer 30 minutes before working on this recipe.

Melt the white chocolate according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once melted, add the peppermint extract and stir.

Melt the dark chocolate in a small bowl; keep warm.

Pour the melted white chocolate out onto the cold cookie sheets lined with wax or parchment paper and spread out with a spatula or wooden spoon.

With a spoon, drizzle dark chocolate over the white. Then, take a knife and draw it through the chocolate to create a marble effect.

Sprinkle the crushed peppermint candy on to the chocolate and gently press.

Place in the freezer for 5 minutes, or until hardened. Break into pieces and serve or store in the fridge in an airtight container.

simplyrecipes.com

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