Chocolate: The Changing Seasons

Changing seasons and variable weather are significant hallmarks of Wisconsin. At Wilmar our chocolate offerings naturally and organically follow the Wisconsin seasons and the weather changes. Here are a few examples:

  • Caramel Apple season starts when the local apples are ripe. It is usually September when the Wisconsin apple trees are ready to share their bounty.
  • We make our first batch of Angel Food during the first cold snap in November.
  • Production begins for our highest calorie-drenched chocolate in January, just when we need the heat energy boost to stave off sub zero temperatures of winter.
  • Watch for our spring hatchings when the weather begins to warm up. Life stirs around us, and we bring eggs, nests, and baby chicks to life in chocolate.

It’s significant: We are a business firmly rooted in nature and in harmony with our environment. We express these changes via chocolate at Wilmar, and invite you to share these transitions with us. Come to the table anytime – weather permitting!

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The “Chocolate Season” … brought to you by Wilmar

At Wilmar our chocolate season does not follow the calendar year. Our kick off month is August and the last month of the ‘season’ is July. It may sound a little crazy, but that’s how it works here in Wisconsin at Wilmar.

We roll into August after our annual monthly July shut-down, replenishing our store and cool room with chocolates. September & October bring our famous caramel apples (natural, peanut, chocolate, turtle), made with Wisconsin cream and local apples. November ushers in chocolate oysters, and the cranberry crisp bar. If we’re lucky a few other seasonal chocolates get ahead of their December schedule: angelfood, rum truffles, peanut brittle, star meltaways, and our cookies and peppermint bar. In January we welcome (this word is not strong enough for the emotion that these evoke) macadamia Wilmarvels – that wilmarvelous combination of roasted macadamia nuts, vanilla caramel, and chocolate. In February, the popular red hot truffles warm us from head to toe to heart (cold weather & Valentine’s Day) and fresh dipped strawberries put color in our pale cheeks. March & April bring spring hatchings: chocolate bunnies, chicks, and eggs. May is for Mothers and our sunshine truffles and flower meltaways spring up. June is all about Father’s Day where our summer caramels and home roasted cashew take center stage. July is our annual shut-down month: our year ends with clean up, copper pot shining, repairs, and ahhhh… vacation : )

August 2018 “season kick-off” staff meeting.

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Chocolate Contest Winners 2018

Congratulations to our great guessers! How many rainbow candies were stuffed into our giant bunny mold? There were 2,432. Corinne Pottratz (a savvy 8 year old) guessed 2,431 in-store and won a chocolate bunny that was as big as a 3 year old. Diane Putzer (an amazing online guesser) estimated 2,438 and won a three pound chocolate bunny. Eggscellent job ladies!

Corinne Pottratz with her chocolate prize bunny.

Diane Putzer with her chocolate prize bunny.

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Made Up National Chocolate Holidays (MUNCH™)

We are often surprised by some of the National calendar days: National Sleep in Public Day, National Ugly Truck Day, National Send a Card to a Friend Day, National Egg Frying on Sidewalk Day, and there are hundreds more crazy ones where those came from. At Wilmar we have decided that every day is better with chocolate, so we made up MUNCH™ – Made Up National Chocolate Holidays, and each MUNCH™ includes our favorite food! We welcome ideas for any MUNCH day you would like to see us honor. Send ideas to our FaceBook page https://www.facebook.com/wilmarchocolates/

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She won our heart!

Hail our love-ly winner, Sheila Schueler! From a drawing of over 1,500 entries, Sheila’s name was drawn. Her prize? A heart box filled with her favorite chocolates. Sheila’s heart’s desire? Dark chocolate macadamia wilmarvels, a once-a-year confection made with our amazing caramel, roasted macadamia nuts, and finished in silky dark chocolate. Congrats Sheila! Will you share or won’t you? Don’t worry, we won’t tell.

Sheila Schueler with her prize.

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June is Dairy Month in Wisconsin

When people think of Wisconsin, they think of cows and farmers and cheese. And yes, all of those imagies are vibrant part of reality here in Wisconsin, and we are very proud of them. These same cows and farmers also contribute to the chocolate industry in Wisconsin. Wisconsin chocolatiers are end users for the rich cream, the unsalted butter, the vitamin packed milk that come from local dairy 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!

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And the Chocolate Bunny Winners Are…

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 15,223, Tammy guessed 15,051. The actual count of Runts was 15,228.

Jane wins E. Bunny.

Tammy wins Peter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How long can you keep chocolate?

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.

Temperature and humidity controlled storage at Wilmar

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Wilmar: A Top 50 Chocolate Blog

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!

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A Lucky Young Woman

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, Catherine!

Catherine Zepp & her prize Heart Box

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