Edible Treats: Have a Hoosier Holiday
Who doesn't love getting a sweet treat as a gift at holiday time? Edible presents are even more special if they're made right here in Indiana, so here's a primer on a few locally made goodies that will please every sweet tooth.
Newfangled Confections, formerly known as Frittle Candy, just unveiled butter mints – a handcrafted take on the pastel mints served at weddings and showers. Meanwhile, their nostalgia candy is a sure bet for any occasion, from the signature Frittle to hand-cut chocolate mint "pillows." Another new addition to the popular line of Frittle are the pralines. Having had more than my fair share of these this year, I can attest that they are transcendent, and I don't often use words like that.
For the chocolate lover on your list, local chocolatiers abound: Consider decadent fudge and turtles from Brooke's Candy or Chocolate for the Spirit's new Divine Swine Chocolate Bars, to name a few. And just in time for the holidays, Greenfield's J. Evelyn Confections debuts a truffle snowman in vanilla bean, eggnog and butter mint flavors. You cannot go wrong with any of the offerings at Best Chocolate in Town. I recently had their Gorgonzola Buffalo White Chocolate truffle and that combination just works.
Brooke's Candy not only has gluten-free offerings but also boasts a fantastic brownie mix definitely worth the try and a great gift for those who are gluten sensitive. Chocolate for the Spirit is preparing to open a storefront in Carmel in addition to the Indianapolis City Market location, where they will sell an expanded selection of their fine chocolates, original creations and gelato.
Fort Wayne icon DeBrand Fine Chocolate has a decadent collection of truffles, bars, classic favorites, dessert toppings and holiday favorites like the truffle wreath box and their chocolate-dipped spoons that are perfect for hot chocolate. Like all of the names mentioned here, DeBrand is also known for their attractive packaging, careful shipping and wide selection for gifting.
Other notables: Litterally Divine's Coffee Toffee is flavored with Indianapolis-roasted coffee beans. Roanoke's Best Boy & Co.'s dessert sauces will inspire the chef on your list. Choices like bourbon-barrelstout-infused caramel, chili hot fudge, balsamic-infused, original dark and mocha are joined by their newest creation: ginger-infused caramel. As if that is not enough the company donates 100% of its profits to charities, many of which are in Indiana.
Meanwhile, holiday-themed marshmallows are in the hopper at 240Sweet in Columbus. I am not sure if you have ever visited their website or their new, larger location on Highway 31 South, but there are few flavor combinations they have not created. From the favorite Hoosier Strawberry to Draft Beer, Salty Caramel Swirl to Elephant Ear, there is something for every sweet tooth. Alongside their popular puffs, they have a line of drinking chocolate, demerara sugar varieties like cinnamon and smoked, and a newly expanded line of salts in flavors such as sriracha and vanilla.
For more hard candies of the vintage variety, venture beyond Central Indiana. Try hand-pulled candy canes from Schimpff's Confectionery in Jeffersonville or from Martinsville Candy Kitchen, and you'll never buy factory-made candy canes again. Schimpff's has a line of cinnamon red hots and other hard candies in addition to their chocolate offerings and has an impressive gift shop and demonstration area as well. There are many who make their pilgrimage to the Martinsville Candy Kitchen an annual tradition. You can watch them hand-pull their canes in a variety of flavors. Not only are they delicious, they are visually appealing as well. Their quaint candy shop is a slice of Americana and worth the drive. Order early, though: Many popular varieties go fast!
Good's Candy in Anderson offers a line of brittle and fudge and popular gourmet popcorn combinations like peanut butter milk chocolate and three o'clock crunch. Albanese Confectionery in Merrillville creates Christmas-themed gummi bears that they add to their 12 other flavors that join a cast of spiced nuts and even gummy vitamins.
Bloomington's Blu Boy Chocolates specializes in rich dark chocolate confections. Beautifully adorned, Blu Boy chocolates are a thoughtful gift for anyone – unique, artistic and eyecatching. Stop by anytime and catch them rolling truffles or serving one of their many fine dessert choices. They, like Best Chocolate in Town and Chocolate for the Spirit, offer a bevy of ice cream and gelato choices as well.
Joan's Caramels, located in Bloomington, has burst onto the candy scene with a full line of chocolates and over nine varieties of original caramel flavors like Beer Pretzel and the local favorite: Salted.
You can even have Just Rennie's Cookie Co.'s moist, preservative-free cookies shipped from Evansville. Their gift-ready boxes of individually wrapped cookies are frequently ordered for corporate gifts and for college students far from home. They are also an Indiana-made treat that can be shipped overseas to those serving in our armed forces. They have a refined technique of scooping out the perfect portion of dough, which bakes to a soft finish. Order a single-variety box or, for those who can't decide, order a mixed assortment.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the handmade treasures Indiana food artisans offer. Online resources like IndianaArtisan.org are a great place to search for what may be made in your own backyard.
Find your favorite local sweets at the Indianapolis Winter Farmers' Market, Goose the Market, Good Earth, Sweet Shoppe in Carmel, Indiana State Museum, Homespun Modern Handmade, Indiana Historical Society, The City Market, Bartholomew County Visitors Center and many more Indiana locations.
Please visit websites listings for more information and to order your favorite treats.
KEYS TO THE CANDY
1. Best Boy and Co. | bestboyandco.com
For the complete line of hot fudge and infused caramel
2. 240Sweet Artisan Marshmallows | 240Sweet.com
hand crafted, specialty marshmallows in over 150 varieties
3. Just Rennie's Cookie Co. | justrennies.com
8 Varieties of Fresh, handmade cookies gift boxed to ship around the world
4. Litterally Divine | litterallydivinetoffee.com
Organic and Vegan Toffee and chocolates
5. DeBrand Fine Chocolates | debrand.com
Artisan chocolates, truffles and confections
6. The Original Frittle Candy from Newfangled Confections | frittlecandy.com
3 varieties original, sesame and coconut.
7. Brooke's Candy Co. | brookescandyco.com
Gluten and rice-free toffee, fudge and baking mixes
8. Evelyn Confections | jevelynconfections.com
Handmade Artisan Truffles and Chocolates
9. BluBoy | bluboychocolate.com
Handmade fine chocolates, truffles and desserts