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Fresh, Homemade Chocolate is the Way Rauhauser’s Candy Shop Does it

first_imgRauhauser’s candy store has been a fixture on Asbury Avenue since 1965. By Donald WittkowskiIn the 1971 fantasy movie “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” the finders of five “golden tickets” hidden inside some candy bars are promised a tour of the factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.Customers at Rauhauser’s Own Make Candies don’t need golden tickets to enter the store, but once inside, they may find it every bit as beguiling as the chocolate wonderland depicted in the movie.The quaint shop at 721 Asbury Ave. in downtown Ocean City has been satisfying the sweet tooth of legions of customers since it was founded in 1965 by Curvin Rauhauser and his wife, Mary Alice.Now, the third generation of the family is in charge. Curvin and Mary Alice’s grandson, Rod Blomdahl and his wife, Kelly, have owned the store for nearly five years. The Blomdahls have kept the family tradition alive by making all of their chocolates from scratch, using Curvin’s original recipe.“This is a dying brand. There’s not many of us left,” Rod Blomdahl said of the dwindling number of chocolate shops that hand-make their candy.Customers marvel over the array of chocolate candies in the display cases.Blomdahl noted that all of the chocolate candies sold at Rauhauser’s are freshly made and contain no preservatives. There is no mystery about their age or ingredients. Altogether, the shop makes 300 varieties of chocolate.“It’s made in the back and sold in the front,” Blomdahl said.Bags of raw chocolate and sugar are stacked on shelves in the back of the store, where a miniature version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory of sorts exists. Butter and milk are other key ingredients, of course. Blomdahl pointed to some old-fashioned copper kettles and large wooden spoons that are used for mixing the ingredients together.He explained that chocolate-making is an art. There are no shortcuts. It requires long hours and a great deal of precision to ensure everything is done just right.Even the temperatures for heating and cooling the candy must be exact. For instance, warm chocolate that is used to coat the pieces of candy rolling down a small conveyor belt is maintained at 88.9 degrees. There is also a “chilling room” for storing the freshly made candy centers before they are bathed in chocolate.“One thing I learned from my grandfather is, you have to be precise. It’s a lot more difficult than baking,” Blomdahl said.Rod Blomdahl, grandson of the original owners, represents the third generation of his family to run the store.With Christmas approaching, Rauhauser’s is now in its second-busiest time of year. Easter is first and Valentine’s Day is third.The Blomdahls and their children, sons Jeff, 29, and Trevor, 24, and daughters Blake, 22, and Jordan, 18, have been putting in hectic hours and a seven-day workweek to meet the demands of the holiday crowds.“We got out of here at what, 12 midnight last night?” Kelly Blomdahl asked her husband Wednesday. “That was early, though.”Sisters Jordan, left, and Blake Blomdahl are part of the family-operated business.Step inside the store and you’ll immediately breathe in the sweet aroma of chocolate. The display cases are filled with every type of chocolate candy imaginable. Assorted chocolates, caramel, decorated mints, chocolate-covered pretzels and chocolate-covered marshmallows are some of the favorites around Christmas.In addition to its walk-in business at the shop, Rauhauser’s also ships its chocolates to customers across the country. It has a website, but has not yet begun offering online sales. Kelly Blomdahl noted that online sales could come “someday.”So for now, Rauhauser’s will continue doing things the old-fashioned way, both with its sales and with making the candy. Rod Blomdahl said what matters most is the freshness and quality of the chocolates, not high-tech customer marketing.“We don’t have to sell our product. Once it gets in their mouth, it sells itself,” he said.Trevor Blomdahl places candy centers on a conveyor belt before they are dipped in chocolate.last_img read more