By MONICA CANE
Dipping five-hundred crisp Granny Smith apples in a vat of thick, gooey caramel for a school fundraiser is all part of a day’s work at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory at 303 E. Yosemite Ave. in downtown Manteca.
But caramel is only the beginning, as there are 25 different apple creations to choose from such as Apple Pie which covers the caramel in sweet white confection, brown sugar and cinnamon or the fun, tasty creation, Worms and Dirt which uses cookie crumbs and gummies worms to cover the apple. Other creations include caramel apples wrapped with M&Ms , nuts, sprinkles, toffee, milk or dark chocolate along with an old-fashion favorite, Red Cinnamon Candy Apple, which is hard to find these days unless you live in Santa Cruz.
Beyond apples, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is known for dipping just about everything from marshmallows, pretzels, potato chips, cookies, candy, rice krispy treats, strawberries and even bottles of wine upon request. If that isn’t enough the local candy store offers customers a large selection of chews, nuts, toffees and crème filled truffles, all of which have earned Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory the reputation of being one of the best chocolate shops in the 209.
“What sets us apart from other stores is that we use premium chocolate and we love to cater to our customers” said store manager Jayne Panigada.
Since opening eight years ago, Jayne has worked alongside the owners, Vinnie and Annie Bhan and the rest of the chocolate factory staff to make, create and serve customers quality gourmet treats sold by the piece, the pound, in gift boxes, baskets, trays and even party favors.
As a franchise, most of the finer chocolates are made in the main factory located in Durango, Colorado and then shipped to the store. However all cookie, fudge bark, peanut brittle and rice crispy making along with the rolling, dipping and sprinkling of numerous toppings are done on site with a whole lot of love and joy.
Typically the busiest season for any candy shop is during the month of February due to Valentine’s Day with the rest of the year going at a much slower pace. However, because of the quality of their chocolates and treats Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has maintained a steady flow of business all year round by selling gourmet confections, sugar free products, specialty cakes, brownies and more in addition to their variety of caramel apples which they also use in their fund raising program available to any group, organization, church or school.
Now as we enter into the holiday season Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory invites members of the community to stop by the shop and enjoy the decorations along with the sweet smelling treats.
“We do a lot of special things for the holidays and it’s really beautiful and very festive here.”
Visitors may also want to get a jump start on Christmas shopping and buy beautiful boxes of chocolate, gift wrapped with a bow for the loved ones on their Christmas list. Next to heart-felt love, a box of candy is just about the sweetest gift you can give.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m..