Scrummy Afters: Chocolate Front and Center

It is time for another confession: My childhood love of candy has stayed with me as an adult and has even followed me into my senior years. At times, I feel a little foolish to have such a yen for candy, especially chocolate.

I wish I could say that this yearning for candy extended only to high-end chocolate, but that would be a lie. Oh, no. I also enjoy Rolos and Butterfingers, and…well, you get the point. However, I think it would be fair to say that when I can get really good chocolate, I am especially happy, and all thoughts of everyday candy are gone from my mind.

You can imagine my delight—bliss might be a more appropriate word—when seven years ago, a candy shop, Scrummy Afters, came to Hallowell, a city about ten miles from where we live. Hallowell is within the loop of where we occasionally drive, and we stop in from time to time to indulge my passion for high-quality chocolate.

Scrummy Afters has all sorts novelty candy, including many delights from my youth, but what really draws me in is the chocolate they make themselves, which over the years has expanded from a few items to a large selection of delights, including but not limited to turtles, caramels, and toffees.

Our friends Alice and Joel, who are well aware of my candy obsession, very generously gave us a gift certificate to Scrummy Afters for Christmas. Therefore, with a happy heart, I went to this most excellent candy shop about a week ago. Clif, who likes candy well enough but is not as obsessed as I am, came with me and helped select some delicacies to bring home. I could have one of those beauties right now.

Because it was quiet when we went in, I had a chance to talk with one of the owners, Hilary Vallani. (The other owner is her mother, Kim.) Hilary told me that when the store first opened, she had experience in retail but no experience in chocolate making. In school, Hilary studied art—fashion design with a concentration in costume. This focus on art and design is evident throughout the beautifully decorated shop.

A few years in, Hilary took a class and learned about the chemistry, science, and precision of making fine chocolate. Now it is time to go out on a limb: I can without hesitation write that Hilary has mastered the art of chocolate making. I will even go one step further and state that of all the Maine chocolate we have tasted, Hilary’s is the best. Period.

As Clif put it, “The fillings are good, and so are the the shapes. But ultimately,  it’s chocolate front and center.” Here is my take: Scrummy’s chocolate has a fresh, smooth, clean taste. It is creamy and chewy, just the way I like chocolate to be. No matter how good the fillings are, I am not a fan of chocolates with hard, almost tasteless, shells. I like deep, rich chocolate that melts easily in the mouth.

Recently, Scrummy Afters has branched out into making funky chocolate that might even be called edible art.

In addition to making the finest chocolates around, Hilary wants Scrummy Afters to be more than a candy shop. They have sponsored community events, including a Harry Potter scavenger hunt, which I know has become a big hit for the young and the young at heart.

Lucky, lucky us to have a shop with chocolate of this quality. We will be returning soon, very soon.


47 thoughts on “Scrummy Afters: Chocolate Front and Center”

  1. Now there is a fine chocolatier who pursued their passion! They sound dangerously close by. 🙂

    I once won a 5 lb Hershery bar in a raffle. It required a hammer to break pieces off of it. I didn’t know what to do with it a Hershey bar that big, but Rick insisted he could handle it all himself. He did a great job, although it took him a little while. 🙂

    1. Actually, for us, ten miles is far enough away that Scrummy’s is a monthly visit rather than a weekly or, heaven help me, daily visit. Wow! A 5lb chocolate bar! Good for Rick and his hammer.

  2. Chocolate is not a mere candy, it is a revered food group with endless benefits. The right chocolate can:
    Help your heart to stay healthy
    It may help improve your memory
    It can help to avoid sunburn. …
    It may put you in a better mood. …
    It may help lower cholesterol levels. …
    It can help you with your workout…
    And it makes a great present for most occasions!
    All that in a delicious, creamy bite!! :3

  3. Lucky you to be ab,e to eat all that chocolate, I am a diet controlled diabetic and none of the delicious things you write about can pass my lips!

  4. I love chocolate, but it’s a word that attracted my attention here. When I was growing up, “Scrummy” was a descriptor for something nasty or gross. “Scrummy afters”…. well, I’ll not even tell you what I imagined when I read that! I looked it up, and found it’s British English, and a shortened version of ‘scrumptious.’ If I had that shop in my neighborhood, I’m sure I’d get past the name — but it might take a while. (Now I’m wondering how the word got completely reversed in meaning for U.S. midwesterners.)

    1. Luckily, I’d never heard the word used in the way you suggested. (We don’t use it that way in Maine.) As a fan of the Great British Baking Show, my connection with scrummy was always positive. Especially when Mary Berry took a bite of a dessert, smiled, and said, “Absolutely scrummy.” 😉

      1. Well, see? I’ve never heard of the Great British Baking Show, either. I’ve lived without television since 2011, so I’m occasionally so far behind the cultural curve it’s pathetic.

  5. I am also a lover of good chocolate… I’ve managed to cut down on the amount of sugar I eat in later years… but not when it comes to chocolate!

  6. Once I gave birth to my daughters my sweet tooth seemed to all but disappear – I’d rather have a starter and main course than a main and dessert in a restaurant for example. However, I can still allow access to the odd slice of ‘proper’ cheesecake or a chunk of good chocolate now and again. Will you have to ration your visits to ‘Scrummy Afters’ in order to preserve your shape?

  7. I can’t resist chocolate either! In Cardigan there is a proper old fashioned sweet shop where they weigh out your chosen delights from big jars and put them into paper cones. They also have a range of posh chocolates and you can buy all one type or any selection you choose so I never end up with coconut ones which I do’t like or chewy caramel which my fillings can’t cope with! sadly they don’t make the chocolates themselves. Your place looks even nicer!

  8. Lucky, lucky you! I can imagine this place being a draw. We used to have a sweet shop on the corner of our street and you have got me reminiscing about the temptations of passing it each day.

  9. Someone is having a lot of fun making all those unusual shapes for chocolate lovers. Meanwhile, I’m stuck looking for chocolate that is truly fair trade. I heard about Askinosie Chocolate, but it’s pretty expensive.

  10. What a shop…

    I’m speechless at your good fortune in having it so close. According to Google I’m 3,066 miles away so even a monthly visit isn’t really practical. 🙂

  11. How nice to have your own chocolate factory nearby, Laurie. I am with you when it comes to never having lost my sweet tooth.And why do it now? 😊🍫🍬🍭

  12. Oooh! What a wonderful shop! I love chocolate but I really try to abstain as much as I can ( though I did have some at Christmas and I’ll probably indulge a little at Easter! )

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