Appleton Chocolates – Making very fine Hand-Dipped Chocolates
Candied wild blueberries in a soft maple center, dipped - twice - in French dark chocolate. This is just one of the flavors from Appleton Chocolates. And sometimes we soak the berries in Nova Scotian dark rum before we fold them into the maple centers
All of their chocolates are made with a maple center and combinations of fruits and berries, and are then encased in European dark, milk or white chocolate.
We make very fine hand-dipped chocolates featuring the traditional sweet flavours of the Maritimes (and of Nova Scotia, in particular)- wild blueberries, cranberries, cherries and maple syrup - and a double coat of Belgian or French chocolate. Our chocolates are big, they are one-half fine chocolate, and they are unique. Our chocolates are a celebration of the flavours of Nova Scotia, and we are happy to share.
Location; 259 Main Street Tatamagouche, N.S
Phone: (902) 657-2233
Toll-free in Canada: (844) 403-2323.
For most of our centers we start with a maple fondant, which is a moist mass of very fine sugar crystals. Our fondant is similar in texture to firm maple cream or maple butter. We add different fruits and berries to the fondant, and we roll them up (by hand) into centres. We dip these centers twice in European chocolate, and then we wrap them in colored foil, package them up, and sell them to our customers. Sounds so simple!
Wild Blueberry We add candied wild blueberries to the maple fondant, and then we dip them in two coats of French Cacao Barry 60%-cocoa chocolate. Our wild blueberries are the small and tasty low-bush berries that grow all over the Maritimes. We select the largest ones, candy them, and roll them into our centers. When you bite into a chocolate, you'll find lots of whole blueberries soaked in maple syrup!
Maple Blueberry in Milk Chocolate For years I have resisted duplicating flavors by dipping the same center in different chocolates, but there was enough demand for our blueberry centers but in milk chocolate that we finally broke down and did it. And it's great! The same soft maple center with candied wild blueberries, but dipped in Belgian Callebaut milk chocolate.
Wild Blueberry in White Chocolate White chocolate has a very different taste, because there are no cocoa solids in it - just cocoa butter, milk solids and sugar. But it's a popular taste, so we dip our maple-wild blueberry centres in Belgian Callebaut white chocolate.
Wild Blueberry and Rum A folk singer named Jim Bennett wrote a fabulous song about Nova Scotians (in the 1960's) and the chorus went something like this:
We just like fishin', fightin', gettin' tight and staring at the sky,
Chewin', spittin' and just sittin', watching things go by,
Climbin' rocks and drivin' ox and learning how to lie,
Drinkin' black rum and eating blueberry pie!
Our challenge was to fit rum into a blueberry chocolate, and we do it by soaking the blueberries in dark rum before we knead them into the fondant. We sometimes use use Smuggler's Cove dark rum from Cape Breton's Glenora Distillery in our chocolates; it's a Caribbean rum to which they add a bit of their own raw whiskey, making it a little stronger and much tastier. We have also started to use the new IronWorks dark rum from Lunenburg. And then we dip these centers in two coats of French dark chocolate.
Maple Creams We start with a very smooth maple fondant boiled just a little harder than usual so the centers are a bit firmer. We dip this one in Cacao Barry Amer Extra - a very nice French dark chocolate, probably the nicest couverature in the shop.
Maple & Cranberry We used to buy and dry fresh cranberries, grind them and knead the powder into the fondant. But then we found the whole dried cranberries from Terra Beata Farms in Lunenburg County, and we started shredding them and kneading the pieces into the fondant. We liked the result: the cranberry flavor is still strong but it doesn't overwhelm the maple taste. Dipped in French dark chocolate and also in Belgian milk chocolate.
Cherry We used to be able to get dried tart cherries from our Annapolis Valley but the supply was sporadic and seemed to depend upon a commercial food drying operation being in place to take most of the crop. In the years when there were no food dryers the cherries were shipped away and were somehow not available to us. Now David and Evelyn Ernst at the Terra Beata Farm in Lunenburg County have begun to dry cherries and we were lucky enough to get a year's supply. These cherries are from Ontario (and dried here) but we are promised that we will get some of the Nova Scotia crop if they are available.
Dried, sweetened, oiled American cherries are widely available at bulk food stores and we have used them when we had to, but our locally dried cherries are so much nicer for our purposes. Dried cherries are oiled so they do not stick together in shipment or in trail mix, but that little bit of extra oil changes the texture of our fondant. And often other cherries are sweetened, not only to make them more palatable but also because when they are sugar-infused they will be shelf stable with higher moisture content, and thus they will be chewier. The Ernsts use only enough oil to keep the cherries from sticking to the dryer racks and they don't add sugar, so we get a very nice, dry, tart cherry to put in our chocolates. Dipped in Cacao Barry Amer Xtra dark chocolate.
Black Currant Black currants are very popular in Europe, where there is a large commercial supply. In Nova Scotia there are lots of currants in peoples' yards but there is no commercial source of currants year-round. Our own currants start to ripen in the last week of July, and that is when we start "visiting" our neighbors after supper, looking to pick their currants also. The fruit stays ripe and plump for at least ten days so we have a nice window to gather up our year's supply, although the currants start to sweat and soften as soon as they are picked so it is always a race to get them picked clean of leaves and stems and into the freezer before they go soft and freeze into a solid mass.
We dry and powder the black currants and then we knead it into a white fondant, not a maple fondant. We found that the maple flavour was mostly overwhelmed by the strength of the black currant, and the little bit of maple that we could taste didn't add anything so we left it out. We dip this one in dark chocolate also. (Because of the seasonal supply of currants we may run out of this flavour in the months before the new crop is ready.)
Coffee Cream This is the one flavor that has little connection to the rest of our Nova Scotian chocolates. We knead JustUs organic Espresso coffee powder into a white fondant, and then we dip the centers in French dark chocolate. We make it because my sister-in-law likes them, and that seems to be a good enough reason.
We enjoy making all of these chocolates,and we hope that you will enjoy them too.