I wrote a few years ago about the fact that I am a chocolate snob. Like I mentioned in my recent cronut post, my worldwide travels have led me to be pretty picky about certain foods like pastries and chocolates.
Chocolate is a big one since my dad is British and he LOVES chocolate. In fact, our go-to, safe birthday/Christmas present for him has always been a box of chocolates - milk chocolate nuts and chews. I think this is why I eat nuts and chews myself. And I can't stand chocolate and fruit together. No thank you for the chocolate covered cherries or raspberry cremes. I think the only exception to that is bananas and chocolate.
Basically I've poo-pooed American chocolates unless it is from an independent chocolatier like Ginger Elizabeth or Moonstruck Chocolates. It wasn't until I came to Sacramento that I discovered See's Candy.
Last week See's opened a new store in Folsom by Whole Foods Market. They held a special event for bloggers. Talk about kids in a candy store!
Some interesting facts that I learned:
*The company is much older than I thought - started in 1921. Mary See, on the boxes, was the mother of the company founder, Charles, and the first recipes were based on hers.
*Mary, and then the company, always used the best ingredients, never taking shortcuts.
*During the Depression, Charles kept his company alive by reducing prices and making agreements with landlords - better low rent, than no rent.
*Neither the Depression or World War II caused them to ever give in on quality. They made less and closed when they ran out rather than use lesser quality ingredients.
*The famous "I Love Lucy" episode in the chocolate factory was filmed at See's.
*The black and white tile floors are an homage to Mary's home kitchen.
*The company believes in letting people sample because once they taste it, they will buy it. They give away one million pounds each year in samples!
*The company was sold to Berkshire Hathaway in 1972. There's no better business association than with Warren Buffett!
*The lollipops are made in a completely nut free facility. #allergies
Now that I understand the history and the quality control of See's Candy, I have a much better appreciation and respect for the company!
We were lucky enough to be able to each pack a box of chocolates for ourselves. After donning the hairnets, we were taught how to flick the candy wrappers in such a way as our fingers never touching the inside. The clerks never wear gloves, but they don't ever touch the chocolate. They use tissue paper and this flicking method to pack the chocolates.
I used to think See's were only in California, but they've been expanding throughout the United States and also have stores in the Far East - Macau, Japan, etc.
Find a store and get your chocolate fix. And remember that if you're a CA State worker, you get a discount!