Visitors Get A Look At The New Gertrude Hawk Chocolates Factory
THROOP —Patti and Blaise Speranza munched on Smidgens and chocolate-covered pretzels as they explored Gertrude Hawk Chocolates’ new factory Saturday, stopping to admire snaking assembly lines of chocolate treats and machinery.
The mother and son from Lake Ariel joined thousands of others as they toured the factory, learned how their favorite confections are made and sampled assorted chocolates.
“I haven’t had that much chocolate in my life in one sitting,” Speranza joked.
“Me neither,” Blaise, 9, added.
Blaise estimated he ate about half-a-dozen pieces of chocolate during the tour. Normally, his mom wouldn’t let him eat that much candy at once, but this time she made an exception.
The tour began in the shipping and storage area of the facility, where rows of pallets and shelves were stacked high with boxes of chocolate.
The smell of warm, melted chocolate greeted participants as they walked through a corridor lined with infographics telling the history of Gertrude Hawk Chocolates. Continuing along the tour, crowds watched chocolates being packaged and assembly lines drizzling streams of chocolate, and even saw a 400-pound hunk of caramel waiting to be processed.
Blaise was especially impressed by a large vat with 5,000 pounds of melted chocolate.
“That was like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory,” his mom said. “Just picture doing a nosedive into that vat.”
After the tour, crowds made their way to tents lined with boxes of discounted sweets. The chocolate factory holds the tent sale every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and the tour of the factory is every other year.
They sell thousands of pounds of chocolate during the sale each year, store Manager Pamela Price said. The sale consists of excess inventory, she said.
“We just do a major blowout sale,” Price said.
The sale included an assortment of treats including pretzels, truffles, Smidgens, nut clusters and peppermint patties, but peanut butter is the crowd favorite, she said.
“Anything with peanut butter,” she said.
Kelly Ingardia traveled more than an hour from Apalachin, New York, with her mom, Linda Hills, her aunts, Ella Farrow and Shirley Goss, and her cousin, Brian Ross, for the sale and tour. Together, the family stocked up on boxes of peanut butter cups, among other chocolates. This year’s tent sale was the third time Ingardia, Hills and Ross came to the area for chocolates but the first time for Farrow and Goss.
With prices “you can’t beat” and a tour that “was just informative and delicious,” they plan to come back every year, Ingardia said.
“It’s a tradition,” she said. “We come every year now.”
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