You know that saying “everything in moderation”? It’s okay to throw that aside and completely indulge at these chocolate shops serving up handcrafted creations from recipes dating as far back as a hundred years. Besides, calories don’t count when you’re traveling!
Started in 1878, Palmer’s Candy is one of the country’s oldest candy companies, originally selling hand-dipped boxed chocolates, penny candy, gumdrops and marshmallows. In 1923, the company introduced their Bing candy bar which came in four flavors: maple, vanilla, pineapple and cherry. The Cherry Bing is still produced by hand and remains a Midwest regional favorite. The Old Time Candy Shoppe contains a museum of company history and hundreds of candy selections.
Helen Drew began making chocolates in the basement of her home in 1927. Nearly 100 years later, the shop is still in the same location utilizing the original recipes and equipment. It is the only candy shop in the country that fork dips each truffle, toffee and chocolate-covered caramel daily.
Opened in 1903 as a grocery store, Piper’s added chocolates in 1947. The same recipes are used today to create melt-in-your-mouth mints, tantalizing chocolates, captivating caramel rolls and more. Each spring, Piper’s uses 1,000 pounds of chocolate to create hollow Easter eggs which are then filled with their homemade candies.
Family-owned and operated since 1938, Betty Jane Candies was named one of the top chocolate shops in the country by Taste of Home. In 2013, People magazine selected their gremlin candies (pecans and caramel covered in chocolate) as Iowa’s top culinary gift. Their chocolates have also been included in Academy Award gift baskets and Grammy Award swag bags.
Owner Rebecca Burns has fine-tuned her chocolate recipes for 20 years. She offers more than 120 varieties of truffles, butter creams and fudge. Die hard chocolate fans can stay overnight at the Sweet Dreams Guest House located above the store (and, yes, you can smell the chocolate).
Chocolate is made by hand using century-old recipes passed from generation to generation. Visitors can watch as employees craft chocolates, hand-dip strawberries and make nine flavors of fudge. Ultimate chocolate connoisseurs can order a monthly subscription box packed with decadent treats.
Built on the owner’s Amish heritage of hard work, you’ll taste the commitment to creating excellent caramels, truffles, English toffee, chocolate lollipops and more with every bite. On weekends, they serve a variety of chocolate-inspired desserts like chocolate fondue and specialty hot chocolate drinks.
West Des Moines
Chocolate Storybook has been a chocolate lover's destination for over 30 years. And they make a little of everything - from traditional truffles and boxed chocolates to chocolate-covered bacon to flavored cotton candy.
For the perfect gift, pick up the “perfect choice” from The Chocolate Shop in Marion - it includes toffee, caramels and caramel nut clusters. Or choose from truffles created in batches of 150 at a time ranging from grasshopper and hazelnut to peppermint and pink champagne.
Located in The Sweet Factory, each truffle at Mount Vernon Confections is handmade, one at a time. Choose from nearly a dozen varieties including dark raspberry, classic dark chocolate, Grand Marnier dark chocolate and dairy-free dark chocolate. They also sell chocolate pigs, corns and barns as well as handmade ice cream utilizing fruit from the family’s farm.