Chocolate shops get ready for holiday rush

HAMILTON TWP., N.J. - December 9, 2011

The shelves are packed at Carella's Chocolates on Nottingham Way in Hamilton, ready for the frenzy of chocolate buying that begins this time of year.

"We sell a lot of candy for gifts here," said Connie Dalton. "It's a wonderful thing, it tastes delicious and it's affordable."

"It's delicious; all kinds of nuts, fruits and all that stuff," said Loretta Krzywulak.

Easter is the biggest holiday for the family-run store, but Christmas keeps Joan Carella plenty busy making the chocolate Santa pops, angels and other holiday treats that customers devour.

It all starts with a 10 pound block of chocolate that's imported from Holland. It goes into the melting kettle for a couple hours, and then they're ready to go.

The chocolate has to be 87 degrees to make it perfect for pouring. The molds are filled on a shaker table to make sure there are no air pockets.

One of Joan's most popular creations is her chocolate Christmas tree which is carefully assembled using more chocolate to hold it together.

"We do dark, we do white and we do milk, which is the most popular," said Joan Carella, "but dark is getting more popular."

"We have people that call from all over to get it that used to live here, know our chocolate and they call, and we ship it to them.," said Susan Carella.

But most folks are like Ed Woolf of Trenton, who likes to pick out his wife's holiday chocolates in person.

"I was looking for the nonpareils probably that she enjoys, so we'll do that. We won't tell. It'll still be a surprise," said Ed Woolf.

For over 30 years, Carella's has been satisfying the sweet tooth of area residents, and like chocolate shops everywhere, they are ready for the Christmas rush.

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