The Place: Anyone who has enjoyed “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” can now experience it firsthand at Schakolad Chocolate Factory, with headquarters in Orlando and franchises in Fort Lauderdale and Davie. At the factory in Orlando, the chocolate is made in micro batches from bean to bar, and you can take a tour. At the local store, you make your own chocolate to take home in a goodie bag. The local shop has glass cases in which 70 different chocolates are displayed; you also can choose a box or basket. Chocolate bars can be customized with logos, names and greetings.
The History: The retail store is owned by Adriana Schaked and husband Baruch “Bernie” Schaked. Of German descent, she grew up in Argentina; he was born in Siberia but grew up in Poland and then went to Israel. There, they met through a mutual friend and moved to Buenos Aires and then Miami. Adriana’s father produced commercial chocolate for two companies. Bernie has been making chocolate for 47 years and studied at the Central Professional Chocolate School near Dusseldorf, Germany. The cacao they use is grown on small farms around Guayaquil, Ecuador, and Bernie visits twice a year to check on the quality. The pods filled with beans are fermented, dried, roasted and ground into cacao paste, then melted to make chocolate liquor (the liquor means liquid, not alcohol) at the factory in Orlando, where the couple’s son oversees operations (Bernie goes weekly). The chocolate liquor is then mixed with milk, sugar and other ingredients in a melanger (stone grinder) to make chocolate.
The Chocolate: Choose from bonbons, truffles, chocolate cigars and chocolate lollipops. Flavors include milk chocolate butterscotch, dark pecan turtles, Key lime truffles, ganache with Jamaican rum, hazelnut pralines, chocolate dipped candied orange peels, dark or white chocolate dipped cherries, milk chocolate raisin, almond, cashew or pistachio clusters, milk chocolate covered marshmallows and dark chocolate caramels. There’s also ganache cheesecake, cappuccino truffles, almond bark, almond butter crunch, mint truffles and dark chocolate covered marzipan. There’s also locally made ice cream, coffee drinks, teas, and frozen hot chocolate with the motto “chocolate to live by.”
You Didn’t Know This: July 26 is National Milk Chocolate Day (not that one ever needs an excuse to indulge in chocolate).
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If You Go
Place: Schakolad Chocolate Factory
Address: 1303 A SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale; 7740 Nova Dr., Davie
Hours: Noon to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday (in winter 9 a.m.-7 p.m.)
Prices: By weight; one-pound box $36, two-pound box $70, two-piece box $2.95; four-piece box $4.95; six-piece box $6.95; eight-piece box $8.95; extra large basket $85