Family-run Mercer County chocolate shop creating sweet treats for nearly 50 years

HAMILTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Constance Carella Dalton has been working at Carella's Chocolates & Gifts since her senior year of high school. The store opened in 1973 in Mercerville, New Jersey.

She and her sister, Joan Carella, now own the place, which was started by their father and uncle.

"It's great working with chocolate. You can't beat that," said Constance.

The shop has become a staple in the community, offering more than just candy.

"It's kind of like a boutique," explained Constance. "We have a lot of gift items."

However, this time of year, chocolate is a popular choice. At the store, customers can choose from pre-made boxes of chocolate or pick their own to create a custom gift.

"If you want to mix them all, you can," says Constance. "That's the fun of Carella's Chocolates."

Joan is the chocolatier. She uses a high-quality Belgian chocolate to craft their chocolates by hand.

"The chocolate bombs are a big deal right now," sad Constance.

She says it's a fun way for people to enjoy traditional hot chocolate. Marshmallows are stuffed inside of a round mold made of chocolate. The outside is then sealed and decorated. To make the drink, simply place the chocolate in a cup and add some very hot milk.

"It's very delicious," said Constance.

They also have chocolate-covered strawberries and unique items, like their chocolate-dipped wine bottles.

Since they cannot sell wine, customers bring in their own bottles of wine to receive this treatment. Ribbons are put up the side of the bottle and it gets shrink wrapped before getting put into the chocolate.

To serve, pull the ribbons on the side and the chocolate falls off.

"And you have chocolate and you have wine. It's a great gift," said Constance.

Constance says the store has undergone many changes throughout the years, but their loyal customers have been a constant.

"That's why I do it," she said.

Linda Carmignani from Hamilton Township, New Jersey, says she's been coming to the store for decades.

"Carella's is like family," she said.

After more than 48 years here, Constance says she has no plans to retire.

"I enjoy it," she said.

For more information, visit: Carella's Chocolates & Gifts
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