West Virginia Dining July 18, 2018
This Swiss Chocolatier In West Virginia Makes The Best Chocolate This Side Of The Mississippi
The Swiss have had an international reputation for producing some of the world’s finest chocolates since the 17th Century. Most of the Swiss chocolate consumed by Americans is imported, but in West Virginia, there is a place where the chocolate is made right here in the state.
Holl's Swiss Chocolates is a family-owned business that has been steeped in the preparation of fine chocolates - a tradition that has been passed down through several generations. The company makes authentic Swiss chocolates using traditional ingredients and techniques.
When the company's founder, Fritz Holl, was a young man, he was sent to Zurich to train as an apprentice in his uncle's Conditorei, which is a pastry shop, chocolate shop and café wrapped in one. After three years under the tutelage of his uncle, Fritz had mastered making not only chocolates, but cakes, pastries and ice cream.
Then, in 1958, Fritz immigrated to America.
He made his way to Marietta, Ohio because the dairy company Broughton was looking for a trained chocolatier. The company's owner wanted to open a chain of ice cream shops that served fine chocolates and pastries. Fritz was hired. Even though the ice cream shop endeavor ultimately failed, Holl continued working for Broughton for the next 25 years.
During his time at Broughton, he did not make chocolates or any of the other specialties for which he had been trained, but he frequently prepared them for his family in his spare time.
When Fritz decided to retire in 1986, his friends and family suggested he return to his roots and open his own business. Holl's Chocolates was born in Fritz's kitchen and took off seemingly overnight.
After eight months and 400 pounds of chocolates, Fritz and his wife were overwhelmed. Their home kitchen would not suffice any longer. So, they opened a retail location in nearby Parkersburg.
The shop was a mere 600 square feet, with a small parking lot and cramped conditions, but the business continued to take off.
Elizabeth made it a point to know all her customers' names and would have a sample of their favorite chocolates ready when they entered the shop. By 1990, as the business expanded and more staff were hired, the company moved to its current location in Vienna.
As the years rolled on, Fritz began to train his son, Dominique, just as he had been trained decades earlier. Today, Dominique and his wife run the business, adhering to the quality and customer service standards set by his parents.
And the business has continued to expand. Aside from their primary location in Vienna, Holl's also has a small shop in Charleston's Capital Market.
They even have certain events, such as bring your child to work day, where kids can come in and not only learn how the company makes their chocolate, but actually make their own.
Aside from certain seasonal specialties, such as chocolate dipped apples or chocolate covered strawberries, you can purchase chocolate variety boxes, such as the truffle collection, or dark chocolate collection. Alternatively, you can choose to build your own box with whatever combination of chocolates you like.
You can also purchase special confections, such as milk chocolate almond bark, dark chocolate snowdrops, lollipops and hot cocoa mix. They also have corporate gifts, where the company will provide a combination of chocolates in a box imprinted with the logo of a particular corporation. Aside from this, they also prepare collections for weddings and birthdays.
If you are looking for a chocolate that is above and beyond what you typically find at your local supermarket, make it a point to check out Holl's. And if you don't happen to live near Vienna or Charleston, no problem - you can place an order through their website at the link below.
Holl's Swiss Chocolates are located at 2001 Grand Central Ave. in Vienna. Their secondary location is in Charleston's Capital Market, located at 800 Smith St.
For more information about Holl’s, visit their website
here, and their Facebook page here.
Have you tried Holl’s Swiss Chocolates? Feel free to comment below and tell us what you thought.
Do you love chocolate and other sweets? If so, check out
this West Virginia Shop solely dedicated to historic candy that you have to visit.