MERIDEN — Walking into Thompson Chocolate’s Factory Store you are immediately hit with the overwhelming smell of chocolate.
The store, tucked in a residential section of the city at 80 S. Vine St., is just one of the stops on the Connecticut Office of Tourism’s Chocolate Trail this year.
“The Connecticut Chocolate Trail was a concept created by the Connecticut Office of Tourism in 2011 as a way to showcase chocolatiers throughout Connecticut and make it easy for residents and visitors alike to discover them,” Senior Public Relations Strategist Emily Pangakis said in an email.
The trail lists 18 stops, including Thompson Chocolate in Meriden and Sweet Cioccolata in Wallingford.
Thompson Chocolate has been participating in the trail since 2014, Sales and Marketing Manager Kevin Scarpati said.
“We certainly do get some visitors that come in because of the trail,” Scarpati said. “It’s increased exposure for us and the company to reach a demographic that we ordinarily wouldn't reach.”
The Factory Store is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will stay open until 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, the night before Valentine’s Day.
The store primarily sells foil-wrapped chocolates, in different shapes and kinds, including white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate. Heart-shaped chocolates in bags, in lollipop forms, and baskets can be found in lots of Valentine’s Day-themed colors this time of year. Chocolate treats for St.Patrick’s Day and Easter are also available now.
The store also has products for sale that aren’t sold anywhere else — like the popular pecan bars and hand-foiled chocolate Easter bunnies.
The store doesn’t offer tours of the factory, but you can find various pieces from the 140-year-old history of the business displayed and a video showing the production process. Under the check-out counter are antique molds used in the 1900s and on the wall is a piece of a local shed where the Thompson family once produced chocolate.
On Tuesday, lifelong Meriden resident Jane Costello was shopping for Valentine’s Day treats for family members, including a chocolate lollipop for her grandson.
“He doesn't eat too many sweets, but he’ll enjoy this,” she said.
She wasn’t aware of the Chocolate Trail but was happy the chocolate she has loved for years is included on the list.
February 06, 2020 05:12PM
By Bailey Wright, Record-Journal staff