When people think of Wisconsin, they think of cows and farmers and cheese. And yes, all of those imaginings are part of reality here in Wisconsin, and we are very proud of them. But the cows and farmers contribute to the chocolate industry in Wisconsin too. Wisconsin chocolatiers are end users for the rich cream, the unsalted butter, the vitamin packed milk that come from local farmers. We are proud makers and purveyors of cream rendered caramels, unbeatable butter toffee, silky smooth truffles, and delectable double chocolates. Each of these using milk, cream, or butter sourced from our local dairy farms. Because of this partnership, Wisconsin is blessed with one of the highest ratios of chocolate shops per capita in the US.
Be proud Wisconsinites! Be proud of our farmers, our cows, our cheese, and our chocolate!
Congrats to our two winners! Our store winner is Jane Vanden Heuvel. She donated her giant chocolate bunny to Harbor House, making many people happy. Our online winner is Tammy Roskom Kasten. She was ready to start in eating her prize right away! Both were delighted to win and very grateful. Jane guessed 15223, Tammy guessed 15051. The actual count of Runts was 15228.
The answer depends on what kind of chocolate you are trying to keep and how you keep it. Blocks of chocolate and plain chocolate bars have a fairly long shelf life. Kept cool (under 50º), dry (less than 50% humidity), and away from light sources this kind of chocolate is still fragrant and edible for approximately three months. Filled chocolates using fresh ingredients – dairy, fruit, nuts – like we do at Wilmar, are not as sturdy. Truffles and caramel selections are the most fragile and should be eaten with 10 days of purchase. Under the best circumstances these chocolates can last longer and still be safe to eat but there is no guarantee that they will be as soft, smooth, or delicious as they would have been closer to the purchase date. For many of our other chocolates we recommend three to four weeks at the outside. Again they will likely be good and safe to eat after that amount of time, but the quality may have deteriorated.
Our recommendation? Eat your chocolate soon after you buy it or receive it as a gift. If you need to keep your chocolate longer find a storage place where the temperature is under 50º, under 50% humidity, and without direct light or sunlight.
It is always nice to be noticed. And someone has noticed our blog. Thank you to Anuj Agarwal, founder of feedspot for entering us into the competition for Top 50 Chocolate Blogs. For a small chocolate shop like us, it’s a surprise and an honor. We placed at a respectable number 33 spot. Not top, not bottom, but definitely on the list. Go Wilmar!
And our winner is … Catherine Zepp. She is pictured here with her prize chocolate-filled heart box & her parents Rick and Kelly. Catherine’s name was picked from over 2000 entries in our 2017 Valentine drawing! Lucky, lucky, lucky.
At Wilmar we follow a hand washing/sanitizing protocol mandated by the State of Wisconsin Health Department. It is an thorough procedure and all of our kitchen staff use the process 10 or more times each day. Wearing gloves is an alternative, however there are concerns that while in warm chocolate latex*, vinyl, or nitrile may deteriorate or transfer into the chocolate. In our operation we do not use gloves during production, but gloves are used when we are packaging our finished and cooled products.
Have you ever watched cooking shows on television or have you been in any restaurant kitchens or bakeries? Gloves are rarely used. Proper hand washing is the preferred method in the food preparation industry. Of course, it is different for ready to eat products at the deli, bakery, and the chocolate shop. You will always see glove use in those circumstances.
We are licensed and inspected annually by the health department. All of our staff has been carefully instructed in hand washing techniques and each has signed a hand washing procedure document. We have dedicated hand washing sinks and one-use towels specifically for hand washing in our kitchen.
Links for further reading:
We try to make every holiday special. Heart boxes, chocolates exclusively made for the Valentine holiday, and fun things to do. Here is some of the fun:
- Free Wilmar shopping tote with in-store purchase (while supplies last) on Friday, February 10.
- Sign up by February 11 to have a chance to win a heart box full of your favorite chocolate. It’s a random drawing s0 everyone has a chance!
- The Mix It Up! Chocolate Bar is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 11am to 5pm. Choose your day, choose your chocolate, choose from over 40 mix-ins, and let our barista fulfill your chocolate bar craving.
- Stop in to enjoy the aroma of fresh chocolate being made, visit our kitchen, view our vintage box and other chocolate memorabilia displays, partake in our free sample of the day, every day.
Since the temperature averages 10° in Wisconsin in January, we’re always on the lookout for ways to warm up. What could be a more satisfying option than food – and chocolate in particular! We offer two stellar choices for your personal January thaw: Red Hot Truffles, and Macadamia Wilmarvels. Each have their own unique ‘warming” properties. The Red Hot Truffle is created with Ceylon cinnamon, and cayenne – delicious and spicy hot – you will definitely feel the heat. The Mac Wilmarvel is stuffed with that Hawaiian treasure – macadamia nuts – and our full bodied caramel, which supplies a generous dollop calories. All those calories – all the better to warm you up my dears.
We have two winners! In our “count/guess” the Snowmen contest for Christmas 2016, two people came up with the correct answer. Not only were the guesses exact, but it’s our first time with two winners. Ted Pierce and Ella Broullire guessed (an educated guess for both) 553 and that was our count.
People often ask how we count. As we are decorating the store, we count each item as we use it. But we don’t count sequentially, we count 10 on one shelf, or 30 on the tree, 6 here, 21 there, etc. That way nobody has the final number until we do the adding. The adding is done the day the contest ends. Nobody knows the answer and nobody can let slip the number, safeguarding the integrity of the contest from all the people who try to trick us into telling!
Caramel apple season has come to a close, but are you still hankering after that caramel apple taste? Here is a delicious caramel dip recipe that will help to ease the transition.
5 Wilmar vanilla caramels
3 ounces cream cheese (softened or regular) @ room temperature
1/2 cup chopped, roasted salted peanuts (optional)
4-5 fresh apples
Microwave unwrapped caramels on defrost setting, stirring & checking every minute. Do not over heat. Stir cream cheese into melted caramel. Mix until creamy. Spread mixture in the center of a dinner plate. 1/2 cup of chopped, roasted salted peanuts can be sprinkled on the caramel mixture if desired. Cut up apples into slices and dip into caramel.