Chocolate factory tour a ‘sweet’ treat


by Becky GINOS

bginos@davisclipper.com

NORTH SALT LAKE—Not everyone can describe where they work as “sweet” but at Mrs. Cavanaugh’s factory employees have their fingers in something tasty every day.

From the most popular Mindy Mints to Cavaliers, the factory, located at 835 Northpointe Circle, produces nearly 10,000 chocolates a day.

“Brenda (Roundy) has been a hand dipper for 20 years,” said Aimee Tracy front-end manager and tour guide. “When they first started they did all the production. There were eight to 10 ladies who sat around a well of chocolate. Now it’s about 10 percent of the product. It’s heated to 102 degrees then she moves it around with her hand to temper the chocolate and bring it down to 84 degrees to stop separation. She makes about 1,600 chocolates a day.”

It all started back in 1964 when Marie Cavanaugh was trying to help raise money to build a church in South Dakota. “She had a pecan roll that she sold for the fundraiser,” said Tracy. “It was so popular people told her she should start selling candy. She went to the bank for a loan and took a box of chocolates. He (banker) ate the whole box and purchased 200 lbs. of chocolates. He was her first client.”

In 1972, the store in Bountiful opened and 13 years ago they opened the North Salt Lake location. There are six locations from North Ogden to Orem.

As part of the process, 10-pound bricks are placed into a tube machine, said Tracy. “They can fit about 50 at a time. Then as they come through a lady touches every one and drags the chocolate to make a letter or symbol to signify what type it is. She’s been hand marking for more than 30 years.”

Caramels take about four hours to cook then another 24 hours before they’re ready to cut. “Creams take an hour to cook then they go into molds and get a bottom and top,” she said. “We use copper kettles in the kitchen because they hold the heat evenly and stainless steel for sticky chocolates.”

For a first hand look the factory hosts public tours Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tours are $1 per person, last about 30 minutes and include a yummy sample.

“It’s best to call and schedule a tour,” Tracy said. “We’re usually booked solid. People come from all over. I have a group from Korea coming today.”

A train display is part of the tour where little visitors can play “I spy” and look for certain items throughout the village. “Marie (Cavanaugh) collected houses and brought them down,” said Tracy. “Kids love this part of the tour.”

Mrs. Cavanaugh’s has 12 full-time employees but as the holiday season starts in September those numbers climb to about 50 workers to help get through the busiest time of the year. Internet sales have almost become a store on its own so they have a full crew working on those orders as well, Tracy said.

In addition to chocolates, Cavanaugh’s also offers ice cream. “That’s become really popular,” she said. “Quality is the key here and customer service. Satisfaction is guaranteed. We’ll always make it right.”

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