By Elizabeth Riggs
Chocolate turtles and bunnies, oh my! With the Easter holiday fast approaching, Ellicottville’s beloved Watson’s Chocolates is decked out from top to bottom with chocolates bunnies, Easter baskets, cream eggs and more.
The Easter holiday is especially special for chocolates, and Watson’s has no shortage of choices for customers.
According to Ellicottville Store Manager Barbara Toth, who has been at the store for more than 14 years, Watson’s offers a fun variety of molded chocolates ranging from bunnies to frogs, in four different chocolate types: milk, dark white and orange.
“The Easter molds are fun because we do the traditional bunnies and lambs and crosses, but we also do some fun stuff likes frogs and cats. We even have snow boarder bunnies—a chocolate bunny riding a snowboard,” said Toth. “We have all different types of molds. There’s something for everybody here.”
Customers can also head to Watson’s to purchase ready-made Easter baskets filled with all sorts of goodies.
“We have two different basket sizes. The smaller one is $19.95 and that includes a chocolate bunny, foil eggs, marshmallow peeps, jelly beans, a cream egg and then another milk chocolate solid,” said Toth.
“The larger basket is $29.95 and includes a larger bunny, marshmallow peeps cream eggs, jelly beans, foil eggs and also a milk and a dark chocolate solid.”
Specially for Easter, Watson’s also makes molded chocolate in the shape of an Easter basket, which is then filled to the brim with other candies.
“Chocolate mold baskets are very special to Watson’s,” said Toth. “They are one of the signature Easter items.”
Also, unique to Watson’s is its best-selling sponge candy, for which it has won multiple awards, and even inspired an Imperial Sponge Candy Stout beer from Buffalo’s Resurgence Brewing Company and one of Anderson’s most popular ice cream flavors.
“Sponge candy is definitely our mainstay. It’s definitely the best seller,” said Toth. “They stay true to the original recipe with the best quality ingredients. They don’t take any shortcuts on any of the processes of making it, handling it, selling it. It’s just a really good product consistently.”
Not that the rest of Watson’s chocolates aren’t good consistently. The Ellicottville store offers eight types of truffles, 15 types of creams, as well as chocolate turtles, chocolate-covered pretzels, caramels, butter crunch and much, much more, including, a candy that you can find exclusively at Watson’s – the Charlie Chaplin. “It’s marshmallows, coconut and cashews all covered in chocolate and it’s actually made in a muffin cup so it’s a pretty good sized chunk of goodness,” said Toth. “That’s something people come in for and say ‘You’re the only place that makes these.’ It’s unique to Watson’s.”
What’s also unique to the Ellicottville Watson’s specifically, is a location with such a plethora of visitors, lured to the area for the busy ski season.
“We have a great, loyal customer base of locals as well as such a huge influx of seasonal visitors,” said Toth. “Those seasonal visitors are repeat visitors every year. We so often hear people say, ‘We are seasonal visitors’ or ’We have to stop at the candy store before we go home.’ It’s one of their favorite stops when they come skiing.”
But Watson’s is not just a favorite for visitors. It’s also the go-to place for many local, loyal customers for a variety of holidays. For example, Toth said that on Valentine’s Day a particularly special couple always stops to buy Watson’s chocolate.
“On Valentine’s Day, we do lattice heart, which is a chocolate-molded heart filled with chocolate and then a lattice heart laid on top as a cover. I have a couple that come in every year and the husband orders this lattice heart. A couple years ago they celebrated their 50th anniversary. That’s Valentine’s Day for them— coming to Watson’s for this lattice heart for her,” said Toth.
In fact, it’s the nostalgia of the candies and chocolates that make Watson’s so special for many of the store’s visitors.
“There’s a lot of tradition in the Watson’s chocolates,” said Toth. “Chocolate is such a happy thing that can bring a smile to kids of all ages, and Easter is such a traditional chocolate holiday.”
For those looking to bring smiles this Easter, Watson’s has all of the chocolate needed to fill baskets and more. The Ellicottville store is located at 27 Washington Street. For more information about their chocolates, services and hours, visit their website: www.watsonschocolates.com.