We may not be able to gather together for Easter this year, but we can certainly still place a chocolate order to lift our spirits. And if the Easter Bunny is choosing where to get the best homemade chocolates and candies to fill his basket, Schmidt’s Candy in Woodhaven, Queens would certainly be a top choice. German immigrant Frank Schmidt founded this nearly-century old confectionery shop in 1925. We recently had a chance to tour this iconic shop with Margie Schmidt, Frank’s granddaughter and the third-generation owner. Margie continues to make specialty holiday chocolates and candies by hand using the same recipes that were handed down to her by her father. Ahead, go behind the scenes to see how all these tasty treats are made, tour the historic interior, and learn about the shop’s history from Margie.
If you don’t have chocolate on the mind yet, you soon will with Valentine’s Day quickly approaching. And while there’s plenty of trendy treats out there–think mushroom chocolate bars and a $375 spiked hot chocolate–there’s nothing quite like keeping it simple with classic cacoa flavors and traditional cooking methods. Which is exactly the mindset behind the Institute of Culinary Education’s bean-to-bar chocolate lab, the first in the nation. James Beard Award-winning chef and ICE’s Creative Director/head of the chocolate lab, recently gave us a private lesson in chocolate making, from roasting and crushing the beans to tempering the final product. Ahead, watch this entire tutorial and learn about the machinery that makes it happen, what makes “real” chocolate real, and how you can get in on the action in the lab.