Monday, August 24, 2009

A Candy Lover’s Guide to Wellfleet

Anyone with a sweet tooth knows candy is available at the Wellfleet drive-in/flea market, various local gas stations, and at Cumberland Farms, as well as at Wellfleet Marketplace, but real indulgence in chocolate only happens big-time when a candy lover crosses Main Street to enter The Chocolate Sparrow. This tiny shop, part of the Sparrow Empire, is open only in the summer. The chocolate bonbons come from the Mother Ship in Orleans. During my visit, I resisted buying anything, since I’m on a diet, but I must admit the display was appealing: salt water taffy, peanut butter taffy, fudge (made at P-town Fudge Factory), chocolate bark, chocolate creams and much, much more. The two young women behind the counter told me orange peels and chocolate turtles are the most popular items. I noticed Chocolate Sparrow creates the turtles with three different types of nut: pecan, cashew and almond, good for folks with a specific nut allergy. (Also, readers with allergies, know this chocolate is gluten free, and the dark chocolate is dairy-free.) The Chocolate Sparrow even stocks Marzipan and sugar-free samplers. The shop does its best business on rainy days and sells between 30 and 40 pounds of candy per day. One little boy left the shop with what he called, “a bag of heaven.” I met a young mother whose kids had all received one dollar for candy shopping. She told me how interesting this experiment had been: two of her children purchased penny candy, which starts at 10 cents; the third bought a watermelon wedge pop with his dollar.

Connoisseurs of fine chocolate will probably be wondering by now when I am going to mention the Wellfleet Candy Company, located in the South Wellfleet shopping center. I went in this morning and encountered one very sad chocolate confectioner, busy creating chocolate oysters with a candy mold made from a real oyster shell. This marvelous shop will disappear forever in ten days. Wellfleet resident Jade Huber explained, “Once the economy tanked, I had to close down the Web site, and the traffic this summer doesn’t sustain the rent I have to pay here.” I felt almost as sorry as Jade who had obviously invested her heart and soul in this wonderful shop with its pretty lavender walls. Her chocolate contains no chemicals or preservatives, so it has a short shelf life, and cannot be stocked by places like Wellfleet Marketplace. The chocolate oysters, with local names like "Blackfish Creek" or "Indian Neck," will continue to be available at Oysterfest, but Jade is going to be looking for a job. I could not leave without trying a chocolate oyster, so I bought two, one for Sven, one for future cottage guests, at $5.50 the oyster. (They’re BIG!) Ours was dee-lish! Before leaving I noticed the chocolate turtles. They actually look like turtles, as opposed to those I saw at Chocolate Sparrow, which seemed mass-produced. Candy makes a great present to take home to friends or relatives. If you happen to be in Wellfleet this week, stop in at the Wellfleet Candy Company. beside the South Wellfleet General Store, to pick up some of Jade’s marvelous chocolates. You’ll be glad you did!

And, while we’re on the subject of chocolate, don’t miss the final performance of Death by Chocolate, a comedy about winning a battle of wills against a bag of Hershey kisses, Tuesday, August 25th, 7:30, at WHAT’s Harbor Stage).