TRAFFORD, Pa.,None - Edward Marc Chocolatier, popular with a lot of celebrities, is busy preparing for the holiday season.
On Monday, I visited the company's factory in Trafford and got a tour.
I entered through the retail store above the factory. It was like heaven for chocolate lovers! Hundreds of boxes of chocolate and specialty holiday pieces filled the room.
I put a hairnet on and went downstairs to the factory to meet the people behind the beautiful gourmet chocolates.
About a dozen men and women were molding Santas, working the milk chocolate and white chocolate assembly lines and making 100-pound batches of caramel. The smell was out of this world!
“Last year we went through 240,000 pounds of chocolate, and next year, we’re scheduled to do 30 percent more than that,” said Mark Edwards, one of the owners.
I gave the workers a hand and joined the white chocolate line, putting coffee beans on the white mocha meltaways. I did much better than Lucy in the popular "I Love Lucy" scene. A photo of the memorable episode hangs on Edward Marc's wall. I had to laugh; I looked silly like Lucy, wearing my hairnet.
I tasted the meltaways I helped make, and they were outstanding! I also tried a Rudolph Pop -- Edward Marc’s most popular mold this year.
“It has a red nose, and it’s made out of milk chocolate. It’s featured in 'Woman’s Day' magazine and their holiday gift guide. Many other holiday gift guides have also picked this Rudolph Pop up," said Mark Edwards.
Mark Edwards and his siblings, Chris Edwards and Dana Edwards Manatos, run Edward Marc, a business their grandparents started in 1914.
“Ninety-seven years later and four generations later, we’re still using their same recipes,” said Mark Edwards.
The Edwards family has four retail stores, including this one inside the Trafford factory. The other three are in the Pentagon, Monroeville and the Milkshake Factory on Pittsburgh’s South Side.
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes recently brought their daughter, Suri, to the Milkshake Factory.
“They came back twice. They came in September and October. We’re so excited to have them. Katie ordered a chocolate chocolate shake, an apple pie shake and the terrapins, which are the turtles,” said Chris Edwards.
Edward Marc has a number of celebrity clients.
"We have Jennifer Garner, who is a fan of our sea salt caramels. We have Cat Cora, Emeril Lagasse and political figures, such as Mrs. Laura Bush, Sarah Palin -- peanut meltaways are her favorite. Nancy Pelosi loves any type of dark chocolate that we have," said Dana Edwards Manatos.
Edward Marc makes about 200 different kinds of chocolate. You can but some at one of the four retail stores or online.
“We have a wide range of boxes of chocolates. Our boxes range from $5 to $150. We wanted to have a price point that hits everyone’s needs,” said Dana Edwards Manatos.
Edward Marc also does weddings, has pretzel bites in supermarkets across the country and will soon have chocolate in four Saks Fifth Avenue stores.