Mercer chocolatier keeps Valentine's Day chocolate covered
VIDEO: We visit Shannon's Kandy Kitchen
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 07:02
MERCER, Pa. - The faint aroma of chocolate greets costumers as they walk through the door of Shannon's Kandy Kitchen. A few steps back into the kitchen and you become overwhelmed by a wave of warm, chocolately air.
The powerful scent comes from a big vat of melted chocolate, kept at a balmy temperature just above 90 degrees. A piston pump sends this heavenly liquid to an antique W.C. Smith and Sons chocolate enrober, an apparatus responsible for coating candy centers with a waterfall of chocolate. The machinery clatters along merrily as hundreds of fillings ride down the conveyor belt.
This old-fashioned operation must seem laughably slow to companies like Hershey or Russell Stover. If you've ever tasted a Shannon's Kandy, you'll understand why they're not in a rush to change anything.
The family business began in the basement of Larry Shannon's boyhood home. His mother toyed with the idea of either going in to baking or candy making. After realizing she didn't want to get up early and bake all day, confections seemed like the obvious choice. The business grew out of the basement and into their current store in 1978. In 2001, Larry Shannon took over for his mother. Like a typical family business, she never really left. Mrs. Shannon still comes back to help in the kitchen some days.
With a week before Valentine's Day, I decided to beat the rush and visit Shannon's Kandy Kitchen early. While I didn't find what I was looking for, I did get to spend a very enjoyable afternoon in the kitchen. I also came up with a good excuse to come back again.
Shannon's operates a store in the Borough of Mercer and they have a second location in Slippery Rock. You can find out more on their website.