If I had to describe myself with one word it would be artist - a visual artist and an artist with words. My artwork is included in Ohio Online Visual Arts Registry. I'm working with various galleries in the Midwest to promote my oil paintings and abstract light photography.

 

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Bourbon Chocolates: Rebecca-Ruth Candy – Frankfort

Rebecca-Ruth Candy – Chocolate Tour

© Becky Linhardt 2010

 The white frame building with red shutters and a red awning shading the multi-paned front windows has the look of an old-fashion confectionery shop, sometime with kids bikes parked on the grass out front.  Rebecca-Ruth Candy draws people of all ages to their small shop/factory on East Second Street in Frankfort, Kentucky.  Best known for their regional specialty, Bourbon Chocolates™, the family owned business has operated since 1919 creating a variety of decadent and delectable candies.

 “My grandmother’s story is one of persistence and creativity,” said current owner Charles Booe.  “She and Rebecca Gooch developed and owned a business before women had the right to vote.  After she became sole owner, she experimented to create unique chocolate combinations that are still popular today.”  The creation that made them famous world-wide though is the Bourbon Chocolates™. 

 “This little Bourbon Ball has a real kick to it,” said Trisha Weiner of Blue Ash.  There is almost always a small plate of sample Bourbon Ball™ chocolates under a glass dome on the counter.  The samples are available for people unfamiliar with the product.  Family lore says that the idea for bourbon chocolates came after a friend of Mrs. Booe made a comment that the two best tastes in the world were Mrs. Booe’s chocolates and a sip of bourbon. 

The still secret process for blending bourbon into a chocolate-cover candy was developed over a two year period of experimentation.  Real Kentucky bourbon is added after the cooking process so these little candies pack a sweet punch.  The bourbon center is drenched with chocolate and topped, by hand, with an individual pecan half.  The original Bourbon Ball™ is coated with dark chocolate, the Irish Coffee™ is enrobed in milk chocolate and the Mint Julep Chocolates™ are swirled with mint green white chocolate.

 There are plenty of non-bourbon chocolates also.  The Mint Kentucky Colonels™ are always a favorite. Two pecan halves are placed on either side of a rich mint filling then coated with a thick dark chocolate.  I love their maple nut creams.  Some neighborhood boys recommended the butter creams.  Real traditionalists will find Kentucky Creamed Pull Candy available here.

 Heritage and pride in their product are the themes of the guided tours that are available to visitors.  A door leads from the shop to a small entry room to the factory where a short DVD introduces visitors to the history of Rebecca Ruth Candy.  Next is the tiny “kitchen” where old-fashioned copper kettles and a mixing table are used to cook and form the centers for the chocolates. 

 Unlike the famous Lucille Ball skit in a candy factory, the conveyor belts move very slowly.  Many parts of the process are labor intense, such as individually centering pecans on top of each chocolate.  One of the employees acts as a guide to explain the machines, the processes, answer questions and to point out special items of interest including the treasured curved marble slab that was used by Rebecca Gooch cq and Ruth Hanley Booe when they first started the business in 1919 and is still part of processing today.

 Just before Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day are the busiest days at Rebecca Ruth Candy so it’s not surprising that tours are suspended during the week before each of those holidays and during the month of December.  Groups of 10 or more need to schedule ahead but individuals can usually request the guided tour if they stop by during normal business hours. 

 Rebecca-Ruth Candy, 112 East Second Street, Frankfort, KY  40602

Information: 800-444-3766; www.rebeccaruth.com

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        As a travel writer it is my responsibility to select the best places, events, and experiences to present to you. Most travel has been on my own though some has occurred on sponsored press trips. Travel listings here will be more informal than my published articles.

 

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