Make Great Gifts
King of Prussia, Pa. - This holiday season, tight funds call for practical purchases. And what's more sensible, and sensational, than satisfying the appetites of family and friends with fantastic food items made locally in Valley Forge and Montgomery County (Montco), Pennsylvania.
For candy lovers, there's a pleasing plethora of pickins'! Asher's Chocolates are available in seven countries, but much of the extensive product line is manufactured right here on Wambold Street, in Souderton. Milk and dark chocolate-smothered pretzels are the company's most popular sellers and these, along with boxed candies, fresh fudge, truffles and even chocolate-covered potato chips, are available at Asher's on-site retail store, open for the holidays, weekdays until 6 p.m., beginning December 7.
Asher's hasn't yet smothered bacon in chocolate, but this salty sweet treat is available at Edwards-Freeman Nut Company, in Conshohocken. The 6,000-square-foot confectionery "memory lane" reminds its patrons of childhood treats from peanut chews to candy necklaces. Bountiful aisles feature roasted nuts, designer trail mixes, chocolates and the company's signature peanut, cashew and almond butters, all ground on-site. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The Great American Popcorn Works of Pennsylvania is another Montgomery County foodie surprise, tucked away in Telford and, at this family-owned and operated business, it's all popcorn, all the time! Here, in a former creamery building on Broad Street, butterfly corn, is the variety of choice for making the best popcorn (vs. the commonly used mushroom corn.) It's wet-popped with corn oil to create a tender, crunchy treat. All-natural flavor is the biggest seller, followed by cheddar and dark caramel and, sold together, they comprise the perfect holiday variety package. Even more flavors are available online at www.popcornworks.com and at the store, in December. Hours are Monday through Wednesday10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For the most discriminating sweet teeth on your holiday shopping list, Antoine Amrani Chocolates, on Foundry Road in E. Norriton, are the way to go. Amrani, former executive pastry chef at Philadelphia's legendary Le Bec Fin, hand-crafts each piece with all-natural and organic ingredients at his recently opened exclusive factory and store. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Farmer Trent Hendricks creates his award-winning artisanal raw milk cheeses in small batches twice a week on a beautiful 30-acre farm in Telford. His creamy Pub Cheddar, Telford Tomme (semi-soft rind cheese with a mild flavor), Keystone Classic (smooth hard cheese with hints of cheddar), Gruyere, Parmesan, smoked Gouda and Colby, have all won honors from the American Cheese Society. Along with the seven varieties of cheese, Hendricks Farm and Dairy Store also offers grass-fed beef and cured meats. Look for it all on Green Hill Road, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Bauman family has been pressing cider from area apples since 1892 and, today, creates more than 18 different fruit products, including salsa and fruit butters sold online and at its store in Sassamansville. Apple butter never needs refrigeration and the pumpkin butter tastes just like pumpkin pie...but without the fat! Bauman's Family PA Dutch Fruit Butters and Cider store, on Hoffmansville Road, is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
All but Hendricks Farm and Dairy Store offer online shopping and shipping. For more information, visit www.valleyforge.org.
This holiday season, combine a visit to these Montgomery County purveyors of palate pleasures with an overnight stay and trip to the nation's largest retail shopping mall - in nearby King of Prussia - and Philadelphia Premium Outlets, in Limerick. For affordable Shop ‘til you Drop packages, visit www.valleyforge.org.