My friends and family also know I'm CRAZY about chocolate (see previous post :). So any time I have a chance to visit a chocolate shop, it's a no-brainer for me. Such was the case during an Appleton, Wisconsin press trip, which included a stop at Wilmar Chocolates.
This bright and spacious shop has offered chocolates and confections for more than 60 years, with no signs of slowing down. And the list of awards garnered by these chocolatiers is incredibly impressive. They have won nineteen “Seal of Excellence” awards from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, in addition to multiple national and local awards.
Whether you prefer a milk chocolate confection with vanilla crunch (above), a truffle treat, dark chocolate caramels, or chocolates with creamy centers, there are plenty of choices available. During our visit a long hallway full of chocolate-related memorabilia showcased a Chocolat CD, enormous rich brown cups with Chocolate in bold white letters, and even chocolate-themed wall signs.
At the end of the hall we found the surprisingly small production area and the Mix It Up! Chocolate Bar Station. A draw for kids of all ages, this is the ultimate in chocolate customization. The process pairs one-part personal flavor preferences with one-part handcrafted genius.
It starts with molten milk, semi-sweet or blended chocolate, so I chose semi-sweet. After that there's a dizzying array of flavors and textures available. I picked cherries, coconut, pistachios, espresso and cinnamon as add-ins. And then I watched my bar in the making. I couldn't wait to taste it!
Alas, there's only one downside to creating a custom treat at the Mix It Up! Chocolate Bar Station. These bars take some time to 'set' from their melt-y character. So if you order a custom bar, at Wilmar Chocolates, just make sure you can pick it up a little later - or ask to have it shipped.(During the coronavirus pandemic, the Mix It Up! station is closed, but you may order a custom bar, online).
And skip visiting in July; that's the month when this shop always closes.
Note: As a writer associated with the travel industry, I received a complimentary tour and bar, for the purpose of this review. While it has not influenced this post, I wish to disclose all potential conflicts of interest.
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