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Chocolatier makes sweets with love

Norman Love is the candy man
Norman Love is the candy man Handout

Why should kids have all the fun on Halloween? So not fair. Fort Myers-based veteran confectioner Norman Love, for one, firmly believes you should fully indulge Oct. 31. And he doesn’t mean with a gooey, nutty bar nipped from some kid’s trick-or-treat bag. Known for his handcrafted, artisanal chocolates, the former reality show judge (Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs) told us what makes him, um, tick:

When you did first discover a passion for candy?

At a really young age, growing up in Philadelphia. My grandmother and mother were very active in the kitchen. I think my attraction was how it made people happy. Chocolate always seemed to be the most well received desserts. It’s one of Mother Nature’s most perfect foods.

What is it about chocolate that’s different from other sugary sweets?

There is a sensuality and sexiness to a fudgy dessert. I’ve said a number of times how happy it makes you. Even when dieting, you may sacrifice for chocolate. It stimulates your mind, the senses, endorphins. I’ve met very few people in my career who don’t like it.

What makes your product different?

For me, it’s about sourcing the finest ingredients from all over the world — beans from Bolivia, Ecuador, Ghana, Peru, Venezuela. It’s always been very important to have a handmade product. Something fresh that is made to be eaten in a short period of time and that’s equal parts visual, ingredients and flavor profile. Flavors that you remember as a kid that you recognize.

Have a quick solution for how adults can satiate our sweet tooth on Halloween and beyond?

For Floridians, I would say chilled chocolate-infused drinks are this season’s must-try. One of my favorite recipes is for iced chocolate with coconut milk and agave nectar. They go so well together and there’s a tropical feel. Make it the way you would make a hot cocoa and refrigerate for two hours to chill.

Final question. What’s your personal weakness?

That’s a tough one. I’d have to say caramel.

Through the end of the month, Norman Love Confections has a limited-edition pink box from which a portion of proceeds will benefit Lee Memorial Health System’s Women’s Breast Health Center in Fort Myers.

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