Fall is time for hot and sweet apple cider drinks and our specialty caramel apples. We dip thousands of caramel apples every week during October.
Apples have been a popular fruit in North America for hundreds of years. The only apples that are native to North America are crab apples. Crab apples are much smaller than regular apples and are usually extremely sour. European immigrants introduced the tree we know today; Apples were first grown in America in 1625.
Before there were caramel apples, there were candy apples. William W. Kolb invented red candy apples in New Jersey. He experimented with red cinnamon candy for Christmas. He started dipping apples in the mixture and made the first candy apples in 1908.
Caramel apples were also invented by a candy maker experimenting with holiday candy. In 1950, Kraft Foods had extra caramels left over from Halloween. An employee, Dan Walker, had an idea for the caramels. He melted the caramels and started dipping apples in them. They were very popular! For the next ten+ years, all caramel apples were hand-dipped. In 1960, Vito Raimondi invented the first automated caramel apple machine in Chicago.
We like to do things the old-fashioned way at Winans, which often means by hand. We use our original caramel recipe, handed down from Max and Dick to Joe and Laurie. Our Ohio-grown apples are locally sourced by Fulton Farms in Troy. We put wooden sticks in our apples by hand before hand-dipping them in caramel. The caramel is extremely hot when we dip the apples!
We make five different types of caramel apples. We have a classic caramel apple. We also make a caramel apple which is rolled in pecans. Our deluxe caramel apple is dipped in caramel, then milk chocolate, rolled in pecans and drizzled with white chocolate. We make a sea salt caramel apple which is dipped in caramel, then milk chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. Our most unique apple is our Buckeye apple. This apple is dipped in our peanut butter delight center before being dipped in milk chocolate. It’s like a giant buckeye candy with the tart crunch of an apple.
“My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”
– Forrest Gump, played by Tom Hanks in the 1994 film Forrest Gump
Life is full of surprises, that’s what this often quoted saying from the film Forrest Gump, means to illustrate. It’s a great analogy for people that like surprises, or for folks who like all different kinds of chocolates. We realize, though, that not everybody wants a surprise when they bite into a piece of candy. That’s why we’ve created our Candy Key. Our Candy Key, along with a few helpful tips, will allow you to decode your box of Winans chocolates. Candy makers use similar techniques to make the centers of their chocolates which mean many candies will have similar shapes. Here are some basic candy decoding rules to keep in mind:
Rectangle and square pieces tend to have chewy or crunchy centers; like a caramel, peanut butter delight or toffee square.
Round or oval candies have soft centers; like our candy creams and mint patties.
Markings are used to indicate what is inside of a candy. Usually, the marking used on top of a candy is the first letter in the name of the candy; like “M” for meltaway or “B” for butter cream.
Toppers are also placed on top of candies to give customers a hint as to what is inside. Our sea salt caramels are sprinkled with sea salt and our cookie dough creams are topped with mini chocolate chips.
And here is a key to our most popular box of chocolates, our 1 pound assorted gift box. This is a guide for how we package our gift boxes. Due to the seasonality of our production, sometimes there will be different candies included in a gift box, or they might be in a different spot. They will definitely still be a delicious assortment of our chocolates! A list of all of our candies is also available on our website under Candy Key.
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We’ve gone coconuts here at Winans Chocolates + Coffees! We’re featuring all of our favorite coconut sweet treats this summer, including a blast from the past: our coconut chews! We used to make coconut chews on a regular basis at Winans, but about ten years ago we debuted a new cream: coconut almond bliss. We’re not getting rid of coconut almond bliss, but our coconut chew is here to stay! These are some of our favorite coconut treats:
Coconut Chew: chewy coconut enrobed in milk or dark chocolate Coconut Almond Bliss: chocolate-covered coconut cream with almonds scattered throughout the chocolate Coconut Haystacks: chocolate-covered coconut flakes Coconut Brittle: coconut and peanut pieces that are buttery and crunchy with a touch of salt
Piña Colada Smoothie: non-alcoholic smoothie made with real pineapple puree and cream of coconut Toasted Coconut Flavored Coffee: a customer favorite! We recommend pairing our coconut treats with our fair trade and organic single origin Honduran coffee. This coffee has notes of lemon and a hint of caramel, which perfectly compliment the tropical coconut flavor of our coconut chews!
Coconuts are used around the world for a myriad of purposes – and not just for eating! Check out some of these fascinating facts about the coconut tree! Fun facts about the coconut tree
The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the palm family. Coconut palms are grown in more than 90 countries of the world, most of the world production is in tropical Asia.
A coconut is not actually a nut, it is a fruit called a drupe. Other fruits that are drupes are mangos, olives, apricots, cherries, peaches, and coffee! A full-sized coconut weighs about 3 pounds.
The word coconut is thought to have come from 16th-century Portuguese explorers who thought that the three holes on a coconut looked like a human face so they called the fruit “coco” meaning “grinning face, grin, or grimace.”
Coconuts are known for their great versatility, virtually every part of the coconut palm is used by humans in some way. Coconuts are used as food, in cosmetics, in construction and building – even in religious ceremonies!
Coconut has a wide variety of culinary uses – though we like it best when it’s covered in chocolate! Coconut oil is used for cooking in its liquid form and as butter or lard in its solid form. Coconut meat can be eaten fresh or dried and is added to both sweet and savory dishes. Coconut flour is used in baking, it makes a great gluten-free flour alternative for those with gluten sensitivity.
Coconut water is consumed as a sports drink and contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It can ever be used as a substitute for blood plasma! The high level of sugar and other salts make it possible to add the water to the bloodstream, similar to how an IV solution works in modern medicine. Coconut water was used during World War II in tropical areas for emergency transfusions. The apical buds of adult coconut palms are edible and are known as “palm cabbage” or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy, as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads, sometimes called “millionaire’s salad”.
Coconut is also widely used in the commercial, industrial and cosmetic industries. Coir, fiber from the husk of the coconut is made into ropes, mats, doormats, brushes, and sacks, as caulking for boats, and as stuffing fiber for mattresses. It is also used in horticulture in potting compost, especially in orchid mix. The leaves of the coconut palm can be made into toys, brooms, baskets, mats and roofing thatch. Coconut trunks are used for building small bridges and huts; they are preferred for their straightness, strength, and salt resistance.
Coconut is highly valued for use in the beauty industry as moisturizers and body butter. Due to the chemical structure of coconut oil, it is readily absorbed by the skin. It also used in cosmetics, hair oil, and massage oil. The coconut shell may also be ground down and added to products for exfoliation of dead skin. What’s your favorite way to enjoy coconut? Sources: Coconut From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Fun Food Facts for Kids: Fun Coconut Facts Is Coconut a Fruit or a Nut? From the Best of RawFood
Everyone loves chocolate and coffee... share with your friends!
Mmmm… sweet and salty. A classic, yet unlikely flavor combination. At first glance, the union of sweet and salty sounds strange, doesn’t it? It doesn’t sound like it would taste good, but it does and we love it!
The savory flavor of salt enhances the sweetness of some of our favorite treats, just try sprinkling a little salt on your watermelon this summer, you’ll definitely notice a difference!
These are some fairly common examples of sweet and salty flavor combinations:
Fruit and cheese plates
Chocolate covered pretzels (or wetzels as they’re known at Winans)
Trail mix with nuts and chocolate or dried fruit
French fries dipped in a Wendy’s frosty (it’s an Ohio thing!)
Peanuts and Dr. Pepper (it’s a southern thing!)
Peanut butter and banana sandwiches…
You get the idea right? We could go on but we’re starting to get hungry!
The combination of salt with sweet, buttery caramel is one of our favorite new flavor pairings! This tasty union has seen a surge in popularity in the past 10 years. Salted caramels are a traditional treat hailing from Brittany, France. In the late 1990s and early 2000, American chefs became interested in the flavor combo after French pastry chef Pierre Hermé invented a salted caramel macaron.
This isn’t to say that salted caramel as a flavor was completely unfamiliar to Americans. Just think of chocolate turtles (like Winans’ wurtles), pralines and Cracker Jack, which was created in 1893.
We’ve been making caramels for over 50 years at Winans. We still use Max Winans’ original recipe for buttery rich and chewy caramels. For our sea salt caramels, which we debuted 5 years ago, we use fine sea salt instead of the regular salt in the caramel recipe. After the caramel is cooked in our copper kettles, we pour it onto steel tables to cool. Once fully cooled, we cut the caramels into bite-sized rectangles and cover them in milk or dark chocolate. While the chocolate is still warm and melted, we hand sprinkle a touch of Mediterranean sea salt on each one. Just a touch of salt to bring out a little extra sweetness.
Once the caramels run through a cooling tunnel they’re ready to be packaged into gift boxes or sent in stock boxes for filling the candy cases in our stores.
You could enjoy your sea salt caramel on its own, but if you’re also going to get coffee during your next trip to Winans, why not pair your brew with your sweet and salty treat? We recommend pairing a sea salt caramel with our single origin Indonesian Sumatra or Monsoon Malabar coffee or our Mo Joe Blend or Mokka Java Blend. These coffees have earthy notes that pair well with the sweet, buttery flavors of caramel. You also can’t go wrong with a salted caramel latte or our Salted Caramel flavored coffee!
#1 Bean to Bar
Traditionally chocolate manufacturers are unable to trace back the origin of the cacao to produce chocolate to send to companies to use for various reasons. These manufacturers are usually multinational corporations with little regard to the process of how cacao beans get to their buildings. Currently Winans buys from such a provider. However, with Mesocacao we are able to trace back the chocolate to the exact farm where it came from. The phrase “Bean to Bar” is a phrase that means the process of getting cacao beans to chocolate manufacturing locations to make dark and milk chocolate to send it out and have it used in the production of chocolate bars. With this chocolate we are not only making chocolate bars but have already experimented on our own specialty pieces such as peanut butter delights and sea salt caramels, they are available in the stores now! #2 We Know the Farmers!
Joe Rieser, one of the co-owners of Winans has been part of the Mesocacao process. He has been to Central America, in Honduras and Nicaragua, to visit the farms and actually get in on the process of cutting, fermentation, drying and transforming cacao into chocolate. He got to know the farmers of the area and got a sense of their culture, to bring back into the chocolate and coffee business. Mesocacao is proud to call Joe Rieser one of their partners in helping Central America rebuild cacao production and boost the economy. The Mesocacao team creates direct trade relationships with small farmers ensuring they are properly compensated for planting and harvesting the highest quality product. The facility that was built to produce this chocolate only uses cacao and cane sugar, which is all from farms only a few hundred miles from the facility. Local, fresh and trustworthy, kind of like Winans! #3 This Chocolate is Pure and You Can Taste It!
Because of the lack of pesticides, preservatives, added sweeteners and extra processing we can truly call this chocolate pure. The taste is phenomenal and it has a wonderful texture and consistency. The Honduran chocolate is full of fruit notes such as dates and cranberries which makes it delicious to pair with nuts or to just eat by itself! The Nicaraguan chocolate has a bit of a different flavor profile. The chocolate has more of a nutty taste has characteristics of a French roast. It pairs well with coffee and grains. Let’s face it; this chocolate is just flat out fantastic and the moment you taste it, we truly believe you will agree. The chocolate also tastes better when you can feel good about it! You know where it came from and how it was made with integrity and passion for the industry, which is important nowadays. #4 Our Pricing is Competitive
Mesocacao’s streamlined production allows Winans to buy from them at such a low cost compared to other single origin chocolate producers in Europe and North America. We buy at 30% to 50% less than what others do, making it cheaper for the customers as well. The cost savings come from the absence of pesticides, preservatives, added sweeteners and extra processing, which were mentioned previously. #5 We, As a Company, are Excited to Offer You a Product Like This
It is rare that companies can offer their customers products that they can endorse with 100% honesty and support. (It helps that it is delicious!) Each employee will read up on Mesocacao and each employee will literally know the entire process of Mesocacao chocolate. That is rare for a company to be able to say about their products. At this time it would be difficult to convert all of our chocolate products to Mesocacao simply because they do not have the capacity yet. Mesocacao is still a growing entity in the industry and so is the region that the chocolate comes from. We hope that someday this will be possible. But for now, as a Winans customer, participating in the delicious partaking of Mesocacao chocolate will aid the growth in Central America and the growth of Winans!
You can find even more information by going to www.Mesocacao.com. There you will find pictures and even more background on the production of single-origin chocolate.
Everyone loves chocolate and coffee... share with your friends!