North Dakota chocolatier salutes the seasons

Our previous post was a salute to Constance Popp, a Winnipeg chocolatier who really knows how to celebrate each and every season season. Her chocolate turkeys are amazing!

This week’s post profiles the Widman Candy Company who has been making great chocolate in North Dakota and Minnesota in the northern United States since 1911 with the opening of a tiny shop in Crookston, Minnesota.

Widmans-Candy-Shop-in-Grand-Forks

Widman’s Candy Shop is a highlight of any trip to in Grand Forks, North Dakota

searching for North Dakota chocolate

George Widman opened the Grand Forks, North Dakota location of the Widman’s Candy Company in 1949 at 106-3rd Street South in the city’s downtown area. At age 92, he still visits the chocolate shop daily, although son, Dan is now the chief chocolatier. Widman’s signature product is the “Chipper” — the chocolate-covered potato chip that has made the company famous, but they make over 200 varieties of chocolate and candy creations.

Carol Widman is the daughter of George Widman and runs the Carol Widman’s Candy Company in Fargo, North Dakota at 4325 – 13th Avenue South–right across from West Acres Shopping Mall. What I really like about Carol is that she embraces the seasons. You always know what the current holiday or celebration is when you walk into Carol’s shop, and in October, when we have Halloween on the brain, Carol’s shop is a great place to be. Her caramel apples are probably the best Halloween treat I’ve ever had and they come in four flavours including plain caramel, crushed pecan peanut, or deluxe mixed nuts. Absolutely delicious!

Carol-Widman-candies

Carol Widman celebrates Halloween each year with a selection of deliciously coated apples in her shop in Fargo, North Dakota.

An interesting thing about Widman’s is that their popularity has grown purely through word of mouth. Carol has a very bare bones website. There is no website for the Grand Forks or Crookston, Minnesota shops. Thank goodness we chocolate lovers are willing to share information with one another!

Indeed, our last few posts have focused on the amazing chocolatiers you can find in smaller centres such as Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Grand Forks, and Fargo. Do you live in a small city or community that is home to a talented chocolatier or chocolate maker? If so, please share and tell us about your local treasure.

Special thanks to Visit Grand Forks who introduced me to the lovely Hilton Garden Inn and to Fargo Tourism who introduced me to the Candlewood All-Suites Inn. Both properties are top-notch and near the local airports, universities and sporting facilities, so perfect if you’re arriving by air for a special event at the arena or on campus.  As the Candlewood is an all-suite facility, it’s ideal for longterm stays.

 

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

29 Responses

  1. Jon Jefferson says:

    This is interesting. I know beer travelers and food travelers. But I did not realize that people travel for chocolate.

    • Doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Jon and thanks for visiting the blog.

      Absolutely people travel for chocolate! After my book comes out, I’ll be leading chocolate tours around the world so that chocolate lovers can meet some of the amazing chocolatiers and chocolate makers I’ve profiled. Just about every country in the world has chocolate festivals and chocolate-focused events. It’s one sweet journey of discovery.

  2. Linda Strange says:

    Hi Doreen: Hoping for a reminder of these “neighbourhood” chocolatiers in the “Summertime – when the driving is easy”- to misquote an old song.
    LL

  3. Doreen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hey, Linda: Just bookmark the site and you’ll see from the category list on the right that the posts are grouped geographically. It will be easy to reconnect with any post you’re looking for, or just to search a keyword using my “search” tool when you’re ready to hit the road or plan your trip.

    Thanks for dropping by, and enjoy planning your chocolate travel!

  4. Susan Cooper
    Twitter:
    says:

    The fact that they have grown by word of mouth is testament to the quality the product… Yum. I do love the small local businesses like this. They have such a passion for what they do and are proud of their product as they should be. I have heard of the Chocolate covered Potato chips, but have yet to try them. Partly because I know I would love them and the other part is my waist would hate me for it… LOL
    Susan Cooper recently posted…The Scary House: StoryMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Susan: Yes the “chippers” are really good! I like the fact that they now have them in milk, dark, or white chocolate and also peanut butter dipped! And on a recent visit to Carol’s shop around the 4th of July, they also had chippers dipped in “red, white & blue” coatings to make your celebrations even more patriotic! Now that’s creativity!

  5. Tope says:

    People travel for chocolates? And while you are traveling make a stop in Ghana, we’ve got lots of cocoa here, and I think there is just one local brand that actually makes chocolates.

    Nigeria has got Cocoa too, but our heads are filled with the oil boom, so you won’t make much progress there.
    Tope recently posted…Kelloggs Cornflakes Vs Ogi BabaMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      People definitely travel for chocolate, Tope. And I have plans to visit Africa in the next year, as I know that several countries in Africa grow cacao and Madagascar happens to grow some of the best cocoa beans on the planet!

      Ghana is not known to produce the finest quality, but certainly produces a great quantity of cocoa.

      Now … I’ve got to go over and check out your blog, as the post title has roused my curiosity!

  6. Geek Girl says:

    Once again you have found another wonderful home grown spot. If my weight would not respond in such a negative way, I would travel for chocolate! 🙂
    Geek Girl recently posted…Do Bloggers Have An Edge?My Profile

  7. Doreen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Cheryl: Good quality dark chocolate doesn’t have much fat or sugar, therefore OK in moderation. Chocolate-covered potato chips aren’t quite in the same category, but a few are enough to satisfy. 🙂

  8. Shamis says:

    Their dedication (visiting the chocolate shop daily at 92!) and quality chocolates must be more than enough to win chocolate lovers. Your post is another addition to their success. I wish I can taste those caramel apples 🙂
    Shamis recently posted…5 Must See’s For A Sweet Tooth In ParisMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Shamis! Yes, chocolate makers are generally some of the most passionate people in the world. They don’t consider the making of their wonderful creations to be work, but rather a privilege to be able to share them with the world. Seek some/one in your area. I’m sure you’ll find at least one somewhere near to you — and report back to us! We all enjoy hearing about these delicious finds.

  9. Pat Bodman says:

    Doreen I am going to forward your article to my family who travel often to Grand Forks and Fargo. I can’t stop thinking about the chips!!! Are they salted and then covered in chocolate? Next time I come back someone has to have some of those for me to try!!!
    Those apples looked pretty tasty too and don’t they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away?

  10. Doreen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks for spreading the word, Pat. Yes, the Chippers are lightly salted chips covered in chocolate or peanut butter. Absolutely delish!

    And yes, the apples are amazing, too. The caramel is not too sweet and the nuts are really fresh and lightly salted. They’re only available in Oct (to my knowledge) in celebration of Halloween. Now you’ve got me dreaming of them … Enjoy your treat whenever and wherever you can. 🙂

  11. Mark Brody says:

    Being from the Northeast, there is something about a small town fall post that just brings me back 30+ years…. I am salivating….

    Thank you!

  12. Jeri
    Twitter:
    says:

    Chocolate-covered potato chips… I should be surprised that they exist, but I’m not. What could be better than bringing the sweet and the salty together? The crushed pecan peanut carmel apples also sound pretty tasty too. Foodies and writers have so much in common in that our only limit is our imaginations!
    Jeri recently posted…Author Interview: Larry CraneMy Profile

  13. Doreen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Jeri: Yes, the sweet & salty combo is a fav of mine. I love sea salt caramels, and dark choc sea salt turtles. Yummm…

    And yes, those crushed pecan caramel apples at Carol Widman’s are the absolute BEST Halloween treat for us adults. (They’re too pricey to hand out to the kids.)

    Thanks for dropping in and drooling with us. 🙂

  14. Catarina says:

    What a wonderful idea to write about small chocolate shops like Widman’s. Would never have known it existed if you had not written about it. Sounds like a fantastic place and if I’m ever in the neighbourhood I will visit it.
    Catarina recently posted…Do you know how to defuse difficult people?My Profile

  15. Doreen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks, Catarina! Yes, that’s the objective of Chocolatour. We’ll take people around the world in search of the best chocolate, most creative chocolate shops and exciting chocolate events, the and most innovative and passionate people of chocolate. It’s the most exciting project I’ve ever been involved with. Thanks for joining us on the journey. 🙂

  16. Gina says:

    Happy Chocolate Day! I have been wanting to compile a list of chocolate related holidays… any ideas where to start looking? How is the book coming?
    Gina recently posted…Mini BreakMy Profile

  17. Christine says:

    Hi Doreen, The chocolate crisps sound really interesting and have not seen them in the UK. Can you ask Carol if she is happy to share the recipe with me? We eat deep fried mars bars (assume you know what a Mars Bar is) in the UK so, a chocolate covered potato chip may go down well!

  18. sherryl says:

    It’s wonderful that you featured a local chocolatier Doreen. I’m sure that if I lived in Winnipeg I’d pay her a visit! 🙂
    sherryl recently posted…Piquing Interest with Pinterest: Selling your Small BusinessMy Profile

  19. Doreen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Sherryl! Carol Widman is actually in Fargo, ND — which is about 4 hours south of me. Constance Popp in the previous post is from Winnipeg, my hometown.

    What’s really cool is that there is excellent chocolate in virtually every part of the world. You have some pretty good chocolatiers in the Boston area. I’m hoping to get there in 2013 and will definitely look you up!

  20. Conrad says:

    I haven’t came across this place before, but I’m heading up there next week. Thanks for the share, I might have to check this out!
    Conrad recently posted…Spring Cleaning TipsMy Profile

  21. Shrey Patel says:

    Hi,

    Excellent Blog.
    Amazing Information You Compiled with us.
    Thanks for Sharing.
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  1. July 11, 2013

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