Indulge in peanut butter and chocolate at central Ohio stops
If we’ve learned anything during a decade of travel writing, it’s that nothing sells like a trail.
We’ve covered coffee trails, doughnut trails, bourbon trails, beer trails, bicycle-and-beer trails, you name it. One that we’ve recently experienced and can really sink our teeth into is the Ohio Buckeye Candy Trail.
Sponsored primarily by the Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau, this sacchariferous safari includes 31 stops in Ohio where the tempting combination of peanut butter and chocolate is concocted.
Check out the trail map at the Miami County VCB. Meanwhile, here are four stops along the route that we recently experienced in central Ohio:
Original Goodie Shop
2116 Tremont Center
Debbie Smith rolls peanut butter batter into logs while making handmade Buckeye candies at the Original Goodie Shop in Upper Arlington. She then cuts out 3-ounce pieces with a dough scraper, the same one her father, James Krenek, used when he opened the bakery in 1967. Debbie now owns the shop with her daughters, Emilie and Miranda, and sells cookies, cakes, breads, potpies and Buckeyes.
Debbie shapes the batter into balls and then comes the magic. If you’ve ever made Buckeyes, you might have pierced them with toothpicks to dunk them into melted chocolate. That’s how we did it at home, and they always came out with a visible hole where the toothpick entered the nutty ball of goop.
Not Debbie. She lifts each one with what looks like a bent fork with two prongs and dips each into melted chocolate that’s not spoilt with paraffin wax.
“This is my special tool that doesn’t leave toothpick mark,” she says. We can attest that her candies, dunked in high-quality dark chocolate, are delicious – and lovely to gaze upon. Seasonal designs include Santas and bucked-tooth Easter bunnies.
Sweet Tooth Cottage
10221 Sawmill Pkwy.
The sweet truth about Sweet Tooth Cottage in Powell is that it’s owned by Sue Bissonnette, a dental hygienist who’s passionate about homemade baked goods that make you smile.
Sue ran her shop out of her home in Powell before moving into a retail shop on Sawmill Parkway six years ago. Inside you’ll find all sorts of neatly decorated butter cookie cutouts, her signature item. She also sells cakes, cupcakes, brownies and Buckeyes, made with melted semi-sweet chocolate and no wax.
“It’s the best chocolate I’ve ever had,” says Nicole Forsythe, manager at Sweet Tooth.
They make the Buckeyes in small batches with fresh ingredients, hand rolling and hand dipping. “We take pride in making them look nice,” Nicole says.
We liked that the chocolate shell had a nice crunch when you bit into the candy, making it extra scrumptious.
Anthony-Thomas Candy Co.
1777 Arlingate Lane
Bang. Hiss. Bang. Hiss.
Noisemaking doesn’t conjure images of creamy peanut butter-and-chocolate Buckeye candies. But those sounds resonate at the Anthony-Thomas Candy Co. factory on the west side of Columbus, where the 67-year-old company makes batches of 160,000 of the delectable treats at a time.
Gloved workers at the end of an assembly line release the shiny, chocolate gems from plastic molds with a bang on the countertop, creating a beat that interplays with a hiss of air from a compressor amid the machinery. The smell of warm chocolate wafts through the building.
Smell for yourself at an Anthony-Thomas factory tour, held every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (Wednesday tours also are available from June through August.) Admission, which can be used toward a candy purchase, is $2 for adults, and $1 for children.
1855 Northwest Blvd.
Confession: We visited the Chocolate Cafe before the existence of the Buckeye Candy Trail, which was created in 2018. We now know that the Grandview eatery offers Buckeye candies, but at the time of our visit, were swooned by the chocolate fondue.
We skewered strawberries, marshmallows, graham crackers, pound cake and Rice Krispies treats before drowning them in warm, fudgy chocolate. Playing with food never felt so fun or tasted so good.
What’s crazy is that you can eat all the fondue you want for $8.99 on Fridays, beginning at 5 p.m., until nothing is left. The cafe also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, and do-it-yourself S’mores. Kids eat for $1.99 on Monday.