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I Knit Around

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Knitting Around With Candymakers

This week's Knitting Around adventure takes us to Nelson's Candies, a handmade candy shop in Wilton, NH. The real danger for me in this place is that it's open almost every day of the week, and it's located only a block away from my home.

The shop is operated by Doug and Mark Nelson, direct descendants of Alan "Pappy" Nelson, who started the business in 1914. That's 92 years, and they're still going strong! The Nelsons are known throughout New England for their handmade sweets - fudge, turtles, caramel corn, and salt-water taffy, which they make year-round. They're famous for their handmade candy canes at Christmas, too - it's not Christmas in Wilton unless you get a Nelson's candy cane. They come in every size from normal - fits in one hand easily - to walking stick. (My size designations - Nelson's sells them by the pound.) And Easter isn't Easter until you've picked up a handmade chocolate Easter Bunny...

Knitting Around with Caramel Corn - CHOCOLATE Caramel Corn
Knitting Around with Caramel Corn - Chocolate-Drizzled Caramel Corn!

When we visited, a fresh batch of their caramel corn - made from scratch in the copper kettles you see hanging at the back of the picture - was spread out on a work table to set up. This wasn't just any old caramel corn, though - this was destined to be drizzled with both milk and white chocolate! Behind me you see Mark Nelson starting the process as he dips a spatula into a bowl of melted milk chocolate.

Freshly-drizzled Chocolate-covered Caramel Corn
All Together Now - YUM!

I was ready to buy a bag of this the instant it was done, but they can't package it up that soon. I'm probably going to stop in today and get mine.

Doug and Mark Nelson Making Caramel Corn
Doug Supervises as Mark Drizzles White Chocolate

You can see the blur of his hand as Mark drizzles. It was a joy to watch him - he clearly has the technique down pat to get just the right amount of chocolate onto the caramel corn. Not too thick, not too thin....just right!

If you decide this all looks too good, there are a couple of options for getting your own fix. Obviously, of course, you can come to Wilton yourself and buy straight from the source. If you want to do that, you're looking for these signs on Main Street:

Nelson's Candies Sign Nelson's Candy Storefront, Wilton, NH

You'll see an open flag mounted on the corner of the building as well. I'm sorry I can't give you their hours, as they change throughout the season. Call them at (603) 654-5030* to verify when they're open.

With Valentine's Day approaching, they're actually open a lot right now. Christmas, Easter, and Valentine's Day, as you can guess, are their big seasons.

Chocolate Heart Boxes
Sweets for the Sweet - Chocolate Both In the Box and Of the Box

If you visit their website, they have online ordering available.

Edited 01-27 to add: I dropped in today to visit the shop and get my own bag of the caramel corn I'd seen them making. Good thing I did - I told Doug and Mark I'd put up this post, and linked to their website, and Doug said, "What website?" Turns out that Nelson's Candies is no longer associated with the Pappy's Candies website I had listed. They used to be wholesale suppliers for Pappy's, but no longer. I trusted the link because the Wilton Main Street Association (incorrectly) listed it as the website for Nelson's.

Doug Nelson does assure me, however, that they will gladly ship their candies to interested buyers. You can call the shop at (603) 654-5030* to discuss what they've got available and details about how to order.

Or, you can explore in your own town and see who your local candy makers are. There's bound to be someone within easy shopping distance from you.

Desktop wallpaper fans, keep your eyes open at the beginning of February - I took several pictures at Nelson's that are destined to be wallpaper downloads. You might want to waterproof your keyboard now, though - they're likely to induce heavy drooling!

Oh, yes - the what is she knitting data! The blue-green project on the needles in this Knitting Around episode is Clapotis, the free pattern available from Knitty.com. It's coming along nicely, a very enjoyable knit!

Don't forget, I'm accepting submissions for your own Knitting Around stories now! Please visit the FAQ at the side of this page for instructions about how to send me your entries.

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