By Debbie Burke
A 65-year old tradition in the Poconos is coming upon another Christmas season, and with it, the candy canes we wait for every year! From now through December 23, every Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., visitors can watch candy canes being made at Callie’s Pretzel Factory in Mountainhome. And here’s an insider’s tip: it’s the white base, not the stripe, that carries the minty flavor.
Founded in 1952 by then-newlyweds Harold and Carol Callie, Callie’s Candy Kitchen & Pretzel Factory are beloved local icons, visited from near and far by multiple family generations. The Candy Kitchen has its famous chocolate waterfall that will deliciously cover a variety of morsels from Rice Krispies to sunflower seeds, from cream cheese to fudge to potato chips and pretzels. Even grapes, which are perishable; so be sure to eat those within two days (which should not be a problem for chocolate lovers). The selection of truffles is astounding and makes choosing one’s favorites very difficult: flavors include key lime, champagne, and cappuccino. According to Gretchen Callie-Reisenwitz (who is the co-owner with her husband Mark), many people start their day with a single truffle that they savor with their morning coffee.
For the holiday season, besides joining the crowds who come to watch candy canes being made, there are specialty items for your Christmas gift basket, which can be chocolate-themed, pretzel-themed, or both! Choices include chocolate Santas, snowmen and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; gingerbread men, peanut butter-filled candy canes and whatever else you could think of that should be enrobed in chocolate. “People even bring in their Mike and Ike candies for us to cover with chocolate,” says Gretchen. Their dark chocolate is 70%, they have white “coating” (which she says some people mistakenly refer to as “white chocolate” but, in fact, there is no such thing), and there’s a full line of sugar-free candy. All goodies can be put together into gift baskets for community fundraisers, golf tournaments, and other special events.
Three miles from the Candy Kitchen is Callie’s pretzel factory where you can watch them being twisted, seasoned and baked, turning into hard or soft pretzels, pretzel bits, sticks, and more; in an impressive array of flavors like the everything pretzel with garlic, onion and sesame seeds. Don’t forget the popcorn (with the all-time favorite, Old Bay flavored). The Pretzel Factory also houses the region’s only left-handed store. Along with the mugs, tools, and everyday items for lefties is the most popular one, the left-handed spiral notebook.
“Callie’s is a family tradition. No matter what your age everyone loves candy and you can always learn something new. Hope to see you there at the candy cane show!” says Gretchen.
For more information, visit www.calliescandy.com.