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.
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!
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.
Amazing Information You Compiled with us.
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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!
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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!
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! 🙂
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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!
I will indeed ask Carol Widman if she is willing to share her recipe with you, Christine. Stay tuned, and thanks for visiting the blog.
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?
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Thanks, Gina! Happy National Chocolate Day to you as well! Yes, indeed. I’ve written several articles about favourite chocolate destinations. You can find 2 of them on the Travel and Escape site at http://www.travelandescape.ca/2012/10/5-more-chocolate-destinations-you-need-to-taste/. After you finish reading that story, you can click on the link at the end of the story that says “Top 5 Chocolate Destinations” and that will take you to the other story I wrote for them. Stay tuned to this blog for more stories on chocolate travel. Are you subscribed?
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. 🙂
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.
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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. 🙂
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!
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Being from the Northeast, there is something about a small town fall post that just brings me back 30+ years…. I am salivating….
You’re welcome, Mark! Thanks so much for joining us. There will be many more tasty posts to tug at your senses, so why not subscribe?
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. 🙂
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?
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 🙂
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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.
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. 🙂
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! 🙂
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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.
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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!
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
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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!
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!
Hi Doreen: Hoping for a reminder of these “neighbourhood” chocolatiers in the “Summertime – when the driving is easy”- to misquote an old song.
This is interesting. I know beer travelers and food travelers. But I did not realize that people travel for chocolate.
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.