PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Candy lovers can watch the classics being made at the Asher’s Chocolate Co. factory, and then buy their own at an old-fashioned store.
Asher’s Chocolate Company in Souderton, Montgomery County is 100 years of pure Pennsylvania.
Emma Kleinschmidt, the retail store manager, said, “Chester Asher started the company, and it was just a small little candy store, ice cream, and now it’s fourth generation.
“We’ve built 11 acres of big factory. We have a big hallway (where) you can look into the factory. It’s a big corridor. You can see through the glass.”
“We come here all the time to see the chocolate being made,” said Chrissy Seiders, who brought her 4-year-old daughter Evelyn.
Meisha Johnson got special permission to go behind the glass to see the process herself.
“You realize just how much is going into this,” Meisha said.
“Absolutely. Chocolate it is an art form,” said Mel Ruskowski. “It has to be the perfect temperature. It has to be packaged right. You want to have the perfect product to put it on.”
Mel explained that different candies are made on the same lines and rotated in. That morning on line one, orange jellies were rolling under a waterfall of melted chocolate before being cooled and hand-sorted.
“There are our head Lucys here packing all the candy up,” Mel said. “It’s very loud, it’s very warm, but we want to keep it warm.”
“So what is the temperature of the chocolate?” Meisha said.
“The best temp to coat chocolate is about 92 degrees, depending on whether it’s milk, dark, or white chocolate. Actual liquid chocolate, you want to keep it about 120 (degrees).”
With the regular production rotation, “each day is a different product,” Mel said. “You could come back in a couple hours and see something different actually coming down the line.”
You’ll find just about every Asher’s product in their adjoining retail store. Meisha picked up the largest chocolate bunny she could find.
“How many pounds…” Meisha asked.
“Eat the ears first!” Emma suggested. “I think this is 8 pounds of chocolate bunny.”
“I mean, literally, I can feel a bit of a bicep workout,” Meisha said.
Inside the store, “there’s always going to be chocolate-covered pretzels and buttercreams and regular stuff, but we also have seasonal favorites. Easter’s coming, so of course, we have Easter bunnies and eggs.”
There are always free samples, too.
For others, these chocolates are a cure for homesickness. Dorothy Longo of Willow Grove was shipping some to a relative out west. “She lives in Nevada, and I sent her chocolates and she’s in heaven.”
The Asher’s Chocolate Co. factory and retail store is at 80 Wambold Rd, Souderton, PA 18964. Visitors can take a look at the factory and watch a video about the production Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
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