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Elixir of Love

Warren and Jill Schimpff.

How chocolate and love are connected through the hands and hearts of our local chocolatiers

 

By Sarah Levitch
Photos by Kathryn Harrington

 

As we’ve settled into the new year, continually adapting to the uncertainty ahead, we know two things for certain. One, love conquers all and can get us through anything. Two, chocolate is delicious and can also get us through anything. Put the two together and what do you get? Pure bliss. With Valentine’s Day smack in the middle of the month, February is a month to celebrate love of all kinds, and what better way to celebrate than with some chocolate (and perhaps champagne, too)? However, have you ever stopped to consider why chocolate is the most common edible gift for a Valentine? We spoke with a few local chocolatiers about this connection, as well as some of their specialties to get the inside scoop on the why behind this delicious treat.

Schimpff’s Confectionery.

Family-owned and operated for 129 years, Schimpff’s Confectionery in Jeffersonville, IN consistently proves to be a local favorite. Whether you go for the cinnamon red hots, chocolate turtles, the pink modjeskas or just the authentic decor, there’s no doubt that a trip to Schimpff’s will leave you with a warm, fuzzy and nostalgic feeling. Co-owner Jill Schimpff shared a bit of history on our association with chocolate and love. “Chocolate has been the elixir of the gods since the Mayans passed it onto the Spaniards,” said Schimpff. “Everybody thought it was a true, magical thing that gave power. When chocolate came to Europe, they added milk and other things to sweeten it. The Mayans chocolate was quite bitter. When they added sugar and milk, it became even more popular. It was a secret recipe through Europe for a few hundred years.” Who knew chocolate used to be such a secret?

Kelly Ramsey of Art Eatables.

Art Eatables, a newer local establishment since 2011 and now with three locations, may be new to the chocolate game, but they have distinguished themselves with their signature Small-batch Bourbon Truffles. Founder Kelly Ramsey noted, “We focus equally on the confection and the bourbon. What’s more, we pick chocolates that accent the character of the bourbons we use. Sometimes they even pull out hidden notes that you might not have noticed before. By paying attention to both the chocolate and the bourbon, we deliver a taste experience like no other.” As for Ramsey’s understanding of the connection between chocolate and love, her perspective may not be the rom-com type we all expect, but much more biological. Ramsey said, “Chocolate triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin, which makes us feel good.” So when in doubt, keep the chocolate coming!

Art Eatables.

Lastly, another long-time local favorite, Muth’s Candy, is embarking on its 100th Valentine’s Day this year since it opened in 1921. According to fourth-generation family member Sarah Blazin, they are still making the original 100-year-old recipes and hand-making and dipping all of their candy. Chocolate made its way into the spotlight of their store over time, their most popular candies being the Louisville modjeska and Old Fashion Kentucky bourbon ball. When I asked Blazin how she thinks chocolate and love are intertwined she said, “Chocolate releases chemicals in the brain that are the same ones released when a person experiences feelings of happiness or love.

Sarah Blazin packs chocolate boxes at Muth’s Candies.

Throughout history, chocolate has been a luxury for many, and like all other gifts that tend to be given for Valentine’s Day, people tend to give gifts of value.” Blazin then added, “Chocolate is also delicious and any reason to eat it is a good one!” I couldn’t agree more.

 

Muth’s Candies.

Art Eatables
631 S 4th Street
Louisville, KY 40202
502.589.0210

819 W Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
502.618.1039

9816 Linn Station Road
Louisville, KY 40223
502.365.1655

Muth’s Candy
630 E Market Street
Louisville, KY 40202
502.585.2952

Schimpff’s Confectionery
347 Spring Street
Jeffersonville, IN 47130
812.283.8367