Sometimes I get the urge to escape urban life and take to the country roads of New England. Often, I'll head in the direction of Southern Vermont, as it's just outside of Albany. On one such drive, I wound up on historic Rte 7A to check out the town of Shaftsbury, VT, where I stumbled upon The Chocolate Barn.
The Chocolate Barn is a converted sheep barn from 1842. It was purchased by its current owner in 1976 and is currently up for sale. Here, the owner has been making and selling over 50 varieties of chocolates and candies, including their famous homemade fudge.
I have to admit that when I first walked in, I wasn't immediately impressed. It's not a fancy candy shop. The inside has two floors of antique furniture and accessories for sale. It kind of reminded me of visiting my great grandmother's house with her random collections of, well, stuff. It even has that "grandma's house smell." As I walked around the shop, admiring the vast collection of antique chocolate molds, mostly from Europe, I found this place more and more charming. It's very Americana.
Of course, we must talk about the chocolates. As you walk in, the chocolates are displayed behind a glass wall on the left. There are hand-dipped chocolates, flavors including, but not at all limited to, raspberry, coffee, and chocolate mousse. There is an impressive and delicious selection of homemade truffles, chocolate covered pretzels, as well as their celebrated fudge. The fudge is made daily and attracts locals and tourists alike.
While it's hard to say how long The Chocolate Barn will be around, given that it's currently up for sale, it makes for a great stop while meandering through Southern Vermont. Businesses like these have such great stories, having withstood several decades of changing market conditions. From what I've read, the owner is ready to move on and pursue other interests after maintaining this business for so long. At over 80 years old, she still wakes up and makes her homemade fudge every morning.
For more information and to order chocolates, visit thechocolatebarn.com