During one of my “impromptu jaunts” I found a little shop I had never seen or heard of before. Its located just across Illinois Highway 146 from Dixon Springs State Park, and its called the Chocolate Factory. First opened in 1977, it’s located halfway between Vienna and Golconda from Interstate 24, take exit 16, east about 12 miles and the shop is on your right.
The scenery is pretty nice through this area, because you are traveling through the Shawnee National Forest. I would caution you about the moving scenery. If you have driven anywhere in the Midwest, you are familiar with the surprises our “Deer” friends sometimes have for us. If not, keep your eyes open along the sides of the road. If you see one deer crossing the highway, there are often more behind her. This happens all through the year. They’re easier to see in the daylight, naturally, and fortunately, this time of day corresponds to the hours of the Chocolate Factory during most of the year. They are open from Monday through Saturday, throughout the year, from 9 AM to 5 PM.
The shop is a comfortable environment to browse, if you want to look over the items for sale on the tables and along the wall. If you need assistance, the staff is friendly and ready to help. If Ice Cream (hand dipped, not soft-serve!) is your quest, there is a counter with lots of different flavors for you to choose from. If you want your chocolate with sugar, they have lots of that. If you prefer white chocolate, they have that. If you are avoiding sugar (I sympathize) they have their different treats available in a sugar free form. These confections are displayed in clear containers along the counter, so you can see the kind of candy you want. If you are looking for a gift for someone, they have pre-selected boxes of candy.
If there’s a special event in your future, they do special orders for weddings, business meetings, birthdays , retirement parties, or any kind of an event your ingenious mind can concoct.
My personal experience there was very pleasant. I spoke to a charming and helpful lady who told me about the part of the shop where they hand paint the chocolates in different colors of chocolate. That was a new one on me, I never knew you could paint in chocolate. In fact, they will give tours to school kids of the facility, and demonstrate the technique of making fine chocolates. It sounds like a great field trip for around Halloween, Christmas or Easter.
I bought a half pound of a chocolate covered caramel and pecan treat that is often generically called after a small animal with a hard shell and a slow pace. I admit I asked for it by its nationally known trade name. At the Chocolate Factory, this candy is called a Terrapin. Its shaped like a terrapin, but its exterior is soft, and there was nothing slow about the time it took me to gobble it down. I have been parceling them out to myself since I got them. It’s excellent.
They have a website, but the lady told me that they don’t have a shopping cart on the webpage. You can always call a 1-877-949-3829. To look over their offerings, check out www.thechocolatefactory.net
So, if you are looking for a gift, would like an ice cream cone after exploring Dixon Springs or nearby Garden of the Gods, or just want to get some sweets for your sweetie, drop in and visit. They’ll make you feel welcome.
Enjoy Illinois –