Augusta has a new chocolatier

| 16 Feb 2012 | 04:34

AUGUSTA — What began as an interest, a hobby then a craft show presence has become a business. Pat Halligan Kissel is now the owner of her own chocolate shop. Grammy’s Chocolate and Fudge Parlor is located in Augusta next to Yetter’s Diner. Making chocolates since 1997 for craft shows, Kissel formally trained under Pennsylvania chocolatier Vivian Blotter, learning about tempering and cooling chocolates and making her own fillings like creams, jellies, toffees and caramels. She also mastered the fine art of creating chocolate molds like bunnies and chocolate hearts. Kissel said she inherited vital candy info and recipes from her mother Deedee Staudt and her grandmother who had owned a candy store during the Depression years. “My grandmother loved to give her candy away, so eventually she went out of business,” Kissel laughed. Hand-made chocolates Ninety percent of the chocolates made at her shop are hand-dipped and prepared by Kissel and her lone employee Brittany Flores. “Brittany does help but she mainly works the front and sales,” Kissel said. Back where the chocolates are created, Kissel has an 80-pound melter where she melts overnight fresh 10-pound blocks of chocolate. She prides herself, also, on using the finest ingredients, top of the fine butter and cream, whole nuts, not “nut dust” — all which go into her small-batch fresh candies. The off-limits back room work area contains Kissel’s cooling cabinet, fudge kettle and storage for ingredients and recipes. “No one sees the Wizard, not no one, not no-how,” Kissel joked, invoking the Munchkins guarding the Wizard of Oz. The chocolate business is quite secretive, with no sharing of information or recipes. Still, to help bring that intoxicating chocolate aroma into the sales area, Kissel installed a three-quarter wall between the back room and the store. “That’s so the great chocolate aroma from the kitchen permeates into the store.” A sales representative wanted to sell Kissel chocolate air freshener. “I don’t need that, I have the real thing.” Kissel’s shop boasts specialties like chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate body paint and other novelty items as well as her fudge. “We have New York City quality without the New York City prices,” she remarked. Now that Valentine’s Day has passed, the store switches gears to Easter and will have a complete assortment of bunnies, chicks and all things Easter from Kissel’s collection of 1,000 molds. A licensed real estate broker, Kissel is basking in the glow of her new business. She loves the Sussex County area and its residents. “It’s so clean, peaceful and the people are so friendly.” For more information visit or call 973-38FUDGE.