I have had the opportunity to taste and enjoy locally made chocolate in multiple countries around the world. I’ve taken chocolate making classes, learned about cocoa and brought home chocolate as gifts. But despite all that, there is one chocolate that remains my favorite – hands down the best chocolate in the world. And it’s right here in the Pacific Northwest. Let me tell you about Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Boehm’s Candies.
The lovely town of Issaquah in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains was my home back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Back then Issaquah was still a tiny little town, where people knew each other and shopped at locally owned stores. Today Issaquah has grown massively, but still keeps a thriving old town area and several successful unique and historic businesses. One of those is Boehm’s Candies.
Austrian born Julius Boehm escaped Hitler’s tyranny and fled to Switzerland in 1940 and on to the United States in 1941. In 1942 he opened his first candy kitchen in Ravenna with the help of two friends and inspiration from his pastry-making grandmother. In 1956 he moved the operation to Issaquah which reminded him of the Alps and built the authentic Swiss Chalet that still is home to Boehm’s Candies today. Julius was a generous, engaged and much loved member of the community until his death in 1981. Thankfully longtime protege Bernard Garbusjuk took over the helm of the operation. With his long family history of Austrian Chocolate making Bernard kept the traditions and Boehm’s flourished. Today Bernard’s children are continuing the quality chocolate making business.
Today most candy making operations are done with machines and it is rare to find fine chocolates that are hand dipped. In Boehm’s candy kitchen you will find the last two hand dippers at Boehm’s – Judy and Amy have been hand dipping chocolates for a combined 53 years. It is one of the things that make Boehm’s so special. Most people might not recognized how unique this is when they pop a delicious Boehm’s truffle into their mouth. But it is truly a dying art…and one to be savored.
Machines Work Too
Some Boehm’s candies, however, are made by small batch machines. One rolling machine is more than 100 years old and is used nearly every day to roll out the confections. I asked what happens if they need a part for this 100 year old apparatus and I was told it never breaks down. Well they don’t make ’em like they used to!
And they really don’t make ’em like they used to when it comes to today’s mass produced chocolate. Boehm’s is not that…rather it is a hands on, high caliber, steadfast operation, that is dedicated to traditional recipes, quality ingredients, old world charm and community. Much of Boehm’s staff have been with the company for multiple decades…unheard of in this day and age.
If you have not visited Boehm’s Chalet in Issaquah you really must check out this Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Boehm’s Candies. Tours are available by reservation and the shop is open six days a week.
You can also visit the beautiful Poulsbo location for the same great product, made fresh in Issaquah and delivered to Poulsbo once a week.
And of course you can order online…but I recommend a personal visit and tour…because you can’t get a sample, breath that delicious aroma, or stroll the beautiful grounds at the Chalet by ordering online. It’s definitely a treat to visit in person one of my all time favorite Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Boehm’s Candies.
Make it an outing today!
Thanks for reading this week’s Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Boehm’s Candies. See last week’s Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Maple Pass
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