It’s February and that means Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
This is one of those holidays where it doesn’t take men much thought as to what to give, but we think the best gift of all to show love is a box of fine candy made locally using tried and true family recipes taste-tested for more than 100 years. The giving of chocolate has been around since the time of the Aztecs when Montezuma associated chocolate with the ability to “please the ladies” and later became Valentine’s Day favorite treat in the 1800s. The gift of chocolate is always the proper gift for any occasion. Since 1983, right in our backyard in Northern Nevada, the family-run Chocolate Nugget Candy Factory has been perfecting the art of candy-making by using only the best products to handcraft and package each chocolate one piece at a time. Chocolate Nugget has two retail outlets within 15 minutes of downtown Carson City, making it an easy jaunt to buy the best candy in Northern Nevada whenever the urge hits or the need to buy a tasty gift arises. Forget the big box stores, go for the best and the freshest candy anywhere.
The Mound House location, easily seen on Highway 341 on the road to Virginia City, is where the magic in the candy kitchen happens as the chocolatier mixes various concoctions often viewed by guests.
The Washoe Valley location on Old Highway 395 – the one featuring the famous gold-panning miner – features a larger retail store and is supplied by the Mound House kitchen. Both stores offer taste tests and will package and ship any products. The passion for making candy started amid the Great Depression, with Grandpa Frank Salzwimmer seeking ways to supplement the family income.
Starting the sweet journey in his basement, he sold his candies door-to-door, and so successful were his candies that in 1962, he enlisted his sons to open stores in and around the Akron and Canton, Ohio area. In 1982, his son Dan decided to seek his fortunes in Nevada bringing with him all the family secrets of candy-making, including the much-sought-after peanut brittle soon to be a favorite of many. No one yet has duplicated the world-famous peanut brittle developed in 1936 that melts in your mouth and is as thin as a potato chip and doesn’t get stuck in your teeth. Today, Ed Ferience continues the three-generation family tradition after purchasing his brother’s share.
He is passionate about the business and proud of his family tradition. Like a good chef, he samples his various sweet concoctions to be sure the quality is up to the standard his grandfather would expect.
Each piece of candy is inspected before being put in a box or a cellophane bag. The “seconds” are then put on a sale shelf to be enjoyed by those who don’t mind a missing peanut or two in the brittle or a chocolate that may have “bloomed” but is excellent in every other way.
The online business is taking off with shipping all over the United States. A new website is now available, showing how candy is made and the various types of treats offered.
You’ll want to dip your forefinger right into the screen to taste the thick sumptuous chocolate. But it’s not all about chocolate – there’s taffy, caramels, fudge, caramel corn, sugar free snacks and other gift ideas. When I recently visited the candy kitchen, I met Melissa, who has worked for the company for 21 years. On that day, she was hand weighing the freshly handmade chocolate and placing them by hand in heart-shaped boxes to fill Valentine Day orders. The emphasis here is that everything is lovingly done by hand.
As Ferience states on the website, “We take pride in our time-tested processes, old world equipment, and loyalty to only the highest grade ingredients. We don’t produce 1,000s of pieces at a time, we focus on one piece at a time.”
This year, shop local and buy the sweets Made in Nevada for your sweetheart at the Chocolate Nugget Candy Factory. We’ll bet you’ll hit a home run when presenting this gift! Remember, “All you may need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!”
Both retail outlets are closed Mondays. Mound House store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 775-246-5500. The Washoe Valley store is open 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Call 775-949-0841. Free shipping on orders over $75.