Chocolate Tours at Mrs. Cavanaugh’s




“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
~ Charles M. Schulz

Who doesn’t love the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

Cavanaugh baskets

Cavanaugh baskets

IMG_2796Everyone dreams of touring a real chocolate factory. I remember taking a tour of the Hershey’s & Ghirardelli factory in California when I was young. Recently when visiting Salt Lake City, I decided to take my daughter on a chocolate tour of Mrs. Cavanaugh’s. The tour is approximately an hour-long and only cost $1.00!!! I could not believe how many samples of chocolate and even a sample of ice cream that were provided all for $1.00. You need to make a reservation in advance for the tour. The tour begins with a short video about the history of Mrs. Cavanaugh’s, the cacao plant, cocoa bean liquor extraction and the picking of cocoa beans. The tour includes a movie, samples throughout and walking tour that gives customers a look inside the manufacturing of the candies. Workers are moving about and gummy bears dipped in white chocolate head from the assembly line belt into a box.

Tempering chocolate for the hand dipped nut clusters

Tempering chocolate for the hand dipped nut clusters

Tempering Chocolate~

IMG_2808Tempered chocolate is what makes the chocolates look professional! Tempered chocolate is smooth and shiny, without the white, chalky appearance. Chocolate that isn’t tempered won’t taste different but it will appear overly soft and sticky at room temperature. Those gray and white streaks that appear after making fudge, are a result of chocolate that wasn’t tempered.

What happens when chocolate is tempered?  The chocolate is made up of different little crystals called “beta” crystals. The formation of the “beta” crystals are what creates the appearance of the finished candy. When a white, chalky, unattractive appearance is on the top of the chocolate, many people mistake this for the chocolate going bad; When it reality, is it caused by the cocoa butter (fat) rising to the top.  Some people go as far as tossing the chocolate out for fear that it has molded.

Tempered chocolate should be nice and shiny when purchased. However, if you leave it in the sun or in your car, it will become white/gray in color. This is a result of the chocolate losing its temper. Even baking chocolate, such as chocolate chips or baking squares,  are tempered. Keep in mind, once the chocolate has been melted, it has lost its temper and will need to be re-tempered.

How do you temper chocolate? Working with a larger quantity, at least 1 lb., makes tempering much easier.  Choose a chocolate that is shiny and hard without any solid products mixed in, such as fruit or nuts. Avoid chocolate chips and chocolate that has streaks or appears crumbly. Dark chocolate tends to be the easiest to temper due to the lack of milk solids. Chop the chocolate into small pieces, place in microwave bowl, microwave 30 secs at a time stirring after each increment, heat to 115 degrees (you will need a thermometer) and then cool down to 90 degrees by stirring, spread on wax or parchment paper and it should cool in 4-6  minutes, losing its shine and turning matte slowly. Do not place in the refrigerator to speed up the tempering process. Tempered chocolate is great for dipping truffles, making barks, clusters, or candy bars.


“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.”
~ Katharine Hepburn

On the factory tour you will get a chance to see the workers stretch & cut peanut brittle, cut caramel into pieces, hand-dip the nut clusters, pouring, cutting & dipping of their famous Mindy Mints! All of this can be seen from behind the glass windows throughout the factory.


IMG_2812Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Candies is the perfect place to pick up a gift! You can even order on-line!

Kerri Cherry

Kerri Cherry

Choose from famous brittles, caramel pecan logs, white/milk chocolate coated gummy bears, cinnamon bears and pretzels, sandwich mints, milk/dark chocolate coated peanuts, roasted nuts and much more! I even found a chocolate with my name on it, “Kerri Cherry” cordials with cherry almond creme.

The best part about Mrs. Cavanaugh’s candies for a gift is creating your own box. You don’t have to purchase an assortment full of candies that you would never eat. Are you one of those people who takes a bite of the chocolate, looks inside and then puts it back? No one wants that. The candies are sold by the pound at the same price, so build your own box. You can also purchase one of the “Most Famous Chocolates” box in milk, dark or assorted chocolate which are available in 1, 2 & 3 lb. boxes. The “Most Famous Chocolates” were chosen by their customers as the top picks. Prices are $27.95 for 1 lb. box, $50.90 for a 2 lb. box, $73.90 for a 3 lb. box, & $114.68 for a 5 lb. box.

There are also sugarless chocolate boxes for those of you who stay away from sugar. These boxes include truffles, cavaliers, pecan rolls, haystacks, nut clusters and caramels. The sugar-free chocolates do contain mannitol.

At the end of the tour, ice cream samples are available. Yes, they have ice cream too! Sample the various ice creams and then purchase a scoop at a very reasonable price. Kids scoops are only $1.00.

“It started when my aunt sent her pecan-rolls recipe,” Mrs. Cavanaugh recalled. “I gave the recipe my own touch and started making the yummy specialties.  Then I began dipping chocolates.  Our friends and neighbors loved these treats, encouraging me to start a candy business.  Finally, I decided it might be a good idea.’”

~ Quoted from Mrs. Cavanaugh’s webpage. 

Decisions, decisions

Decisions, decisions

Mrs. Cavanaugh’s has six stores, all located in Utah. You can purchase chocolates in North Salt Lake, North Ogden, Bountiful, Layton, Valley Fair Mall, and in Provo. Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Candies has been recognized on numerous occasions as the Candy/Confectionery recipient of Utah’s Best of State Award. is featured monthly in Destinations Travel Magazine

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