It’s the most wonderful time of the year, that’s why I saved this specially sweet post to share with you all during the holiday season, because nothing, and I mean NOTHING is a better holiday gift idea than chocolate. Come with me as we explore the chocolate and candy shops of Salem, Massachusetts and I’ll share where you can shop for them if you don’t live in MA!
This post comes as a continuation to my Foodie Travel Guide to Salem, MA published in the spring and months later I bring you the sweetest side of Salem – its chocolate and candy shops galore! A New England city packed to the brim with incredible food, while traveling through it, we discovered that Salem has a sweet tooth and on every turn we discovered a new chocolate and/or candy shop, so let’s dive right in!
Walking into Harbor Sweets is like walking into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory! Handcrafted New England Chocolates have been made here since 1973! As soon as I walked in, I felt at home and there was a precise reason for it – the area has a large Dominican population and it was so incredible to talk to the Dominican chocolate makers that were part of the fabric that makes up the over 100 people that are employed by Harbor Sweets.
They have several lines, all of them perfect for holiday gifting and stocking stuffers:
- Classics with original nautical designs of Sweet Sloops, Sand Dollars, and Marblehead Mints
- Dark Horse Chocolates, a special equestrian themed line for horse enthusiasts
- Salt & Ayre, a line of truffles and salted chocolates
- Gather is a purpose-driven line of small batch chocolates with local wildflower honey, inspired by the honeybee plight
- Cocoa Santé, a line of hot cocoa mixes made with organic cocoa and all natural ingredients
Everything was delicious and carefully made at Harbor Sweet. For the New Englanders ready for another winter, the perfect gift idea from Harbor Sweet is any one of their Cocoa Santé hot chocolate line. Let me just tell you that these were some of the best hot chocolate mixes ever, so make sure to order some for the winter.
We visited Turtle Alley with Salem Food Tours (more on that coming soon!) and what a delight it was! As you step into the shop, you’re faced with endless choices of handmade chocolates that are classic, innovative, creative, and so much more. Owner and chocolate maker Hallie Baker also has a shop in Gloucester, so this Salem shop is her second chocolate baby.
Everything we tasted at Turtle Alley was delightful, but our favorites were – you guessed it – their turtles! Clever little chunks of nuts, buttery caramel and Hallie’s best chocolate, these come in a variety of options: pecan, aloha, cashew, macadamia, chipotle, almond, cherry apricot almond, and cranberry pecan, all of which you can order online, or if you stop by the shop, you can see they also have even more options like these dark chocolate pistachio turtles!
Did you know America’s oldest candy shop (1806) is located in Salem, Massachusetts? It is and it’s the Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie. Step into this shop and take a leap back into time, where things were simpler. As much as I love modern chocolate shops, there’s something so nostalgic about those shops that you instantly sigh in awe as you walk in.
“Salem Gibralter” and “Black Jacks” were the most popular candies through the decades and can still be found made at the shop. There are so many interesting flavors of candy confections, so make sure to stock up on all things sugar!
For the hot chocolate lovers, Kakawa is a dream come true and I’ll let them explain it themselves why:
“We are a specialty chocolate company located in the beautiful high desert town of Santa Fe, New Mexico and Salem, Massachusetts. Our passion is authentic and historic drinking chocolates elixirs. Historic drinking chocolate elixirs include traditional Pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican, Mayan and Aztec drinking chocolate elixirs; 1600’s European drinking chocolate elixirs, Colonial American and Colonial Mexican drinking chocolate elixirs. Kakawa Chocolate House drinking chocolate elixirs are representative of these historic recipes and span the time period 1000 BC to the mid-1900s AD.”
The shop smells divine because hot chocolate is brewing all day long and as you settle in, you are handed a menu. They offer 6-8 hot chocolate recipes daily and you can order a single one to sip on while walking around the city or sit down for a few minutes and do a flight. Most of them are made with almond milk or water, so if you’re dairy free or vegan, you can still indulge and indulge you will!
Not only that, but they make some of the most creative, most delicious chocolate pieces and truffles. We had one that was goat cheese & sage that blew our mind! You can order both the hot chocolate mixes as well as truffles online, so they make the perfect holiday gift idea. Bring a box of truffle instead of a bottle of wine to your next dinner party!
It was lovely to discover that Salem was a city perfect not only for food loves but chocolate lovers alike! Make sure to check out all these chocolate shops online and if you find yourself in Salem, pay them a visit!