Step into Turtle Alley and behold a fleet of candy turtles without equal. Big, knobby critters are made of dark, white, and milk chocolate; they are handmade, each as unique as a snowflake, bristling with nuts that poke out from the caramel like multiple flippers from underneath the chocolate shell.
Proprietor Hallie Baker makes her turtles with pecans, almonds, peanuts, and macadamias. These are extraordinarily good-looking turtles, unlike mass-produced ones because their nuts are not totally plastered with chocolate. Instead, the nuts are implanted in the caramel underneath the chocolate so that they stick out the side. Some really do look anatomically correct; others look like cartoon turtles with a dozen flippers paddling all around the shell.
Hallie says that white chocolate turtles are the richest, and she may be right; the turtles we like best are traditional pecan-footed ones, coated with deep, dark chocolate. Perhaps the most amazing one is an almond chipotle turtle in which the pepper’s smoky bite surges through the caramel filling and around the nuts like edible adrenaline, all its excitement robed in a silky sweet chocolate coat that assures on-fire taste buds that all is well.
“What I love most about the turtle is that it’s a launching pad for so many different combinations,” Hallie says. “I find a great new product and chances are it will inspire a turtle.” Although some of what she makes is seasonal – cranberry-pecan turtles are a fall and winter offering, white chocolate blueberry is a spring and summer combo – you can special-order any of the repertoire as you need it. Whenever she has a new concept, she makes a few small batches and distributes them to regular customers for review.
Turtles are just some of many things available in this joyous candy land. The shelves are lined with brittles, barks, truffles, clusters, chocolate-coated candied fruits, nonpareils, and simple hunks of uncomplicated chocolate. The confectionery is fun to visit because Hallie Baker’s pleasure at running it is contagious – she is the proverbial kid in a candy store, but in this case grown up and doing exactly what she loves to do.
Turtles and chocolate samplers are available by mail order.