Chocolating with Savina: Daytona Beach, FL

This month, we’re heading to the sunny east coast of Florida. During our “chocolating” time together, we’ll stop at a local chocolate shop and explore some of the area’s rich history and cultural features along the way. I visited this part of Florida in 2019 while my husband and I were living seasonally in St. Petersburg, FL.

Mention Daytona Beach to someone and the word racing would probably come pouring out their mouth. True, this coastal resort town has been hosting the NASCAR races for over 60 years. As you head into town from Hwy 75 on US Route 92/International Speedway Boulevard, you are reminded of this fact as you pass by the enormously imposing Daytona International Speedway complex on the right.   

First Things First

Yet, you soon notice something coming up on your “chocolate-radar.” It tells you to continue ahead and turn right on N. Beach Drive, just before crossing the water. Drive two blocks and on the right side, you’ll find Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory. 

Right as you walk through the front door of the chocolate factory, your senses are awakened by the wonderful aroma of chocolate. The gift shop is extensive and my eyes catch a fun saying on a t-shirt for sale: “Quick, hide the chocolate in my mouth!” I like this place already.

Displays showcase their traditional chocolate confections along with their specialty items: giant peanut butter cups, chocolate bark, Rocky Road Heavenly Hash, truffles, and chocolate covered bacon. They even produce “fried eggs” to go with later–only by special request! If you are into sea life, they have one of the most realistic chocolate sea stars I’ve seen.

Heavenly Hash
Bacon and Eggs

Sea Star

What’s a Honeybee, you may ask? It’s the Angell and Phelps milk or dark chocolate variation of the classic Turtle, made with rich butter caramel and macadamia nuts instead of pecans. The pretzels and potato chips they use both hail from Pennsylvania’s Amish Country. The pretzels are made by the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, the first US commercial pretzel establishment in 1861. Their chocolate dipped potato chips, my favorite, are created with Martin’s Famous Waffle-Cut Potato Chips, which are cut just a bit thicker to make them deliciously crisp. Sponge Candy is another traditional favorite.

Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips
Sponge Candy (Seafoam)

Angell & Phelps is not only famous for their hand made products, but also for their extremely popular and free 20-minute tour. They definitely pack in a lot of chocolate information. Discover how chocolate is made from bean to bar and what makes their chocolate so special. It is obvious that the woman leading the tour is passionate about what they do, and that feeling permeates throughout the staff and creations.

I recently spoke with Chuck Smith, owner/candy maker of Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory. It has been two years since our visit, so I had some questions to ask and specifically wanted to know how they were faring with the pandemic and these uncertain economic times:

What’s the history of Angell & Phelps? It was founded in 1925 when two childhood friends, Riddell Angell and Cora Phelps, started a chocolate business in Mackinac Island, Michigan (also the hometown of Kilwins Chocolates). I find their story especially inspiring considering the limited business opportunities that were available to women in the 1920s. They moved their shop to Daytona Beach after the start of World War II.

After a few decades of dedication, Riddell and Cora retired and sold the shop to the Reisinger’s, a husband and wife team from Ohio. Then in 1983 after retiring from the military, Dr. Alvin Smith fulfilled his dream of opening a chocolate store by purchasing the company. In those days, everything was done by hand. There were no machines with the exception of an enrobing machine that was used only during the Christmas season. Today the business is operated by his son Chuck. They use some of the original recipes and equipment, including copper kettles, and are very conscientious about honoring the founders’ history that came before them.

The original chocolate shop, opened by Riddell and Cora, was located about a half a mile from the current location. In 1994, Dr. Smith moved it to where it is now, in the old Dunn Brothers’ Hardware Store building, which for years was the only hardware store in town.

How did the original owners deal with the Florida heat? In the early days, the confectionary duo were in Daytona only during the winter. They also had many less products back then. Yet the Florida heat still was a major problem. There was in-store air conditioning in front in the store, but not in the back where all the production took place. Cooling was accomplished by having a fan blow over ice placed in freezers.

Tell me about the choco-train! It was Chuck’s idea, in 2010, to put a model electric train and tracks along the perimeter of the store’s main room. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been running for over a year now and is waiting for parts and needed maintenance. It is still there, so be sure to ask a staff member to point it out. Here’s a video of it chugging around the store in 2019:

How has the pandemic affected your business? The company experienced the most shipping, delivery and curb side pick up business ever. Yet, like the majority of businesses today, a shortage of staff has been a major problem as well as getting supplies. (Fortunately he had stocked up on them). They are currently closed on Sundays and their staff-led tours have been replaced with a self-guided one until further notice. Don’t worry, though, there are still lots of samples included. So be sure to call or check their Facebook page for shop hours and tour status before heading their way.

It was a pleasure “talking chocolate” with Chuck. We could have stayed on the phone for hours. I guess that could be another definition of chocolating! 😊

If you won’t be in the area any time soon, you might want to order some items from them online. Summertime? No worries, even your summer deliveries will arrive in good shape because of their careful packaging.

Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory 154 S Beach St. Daytona Beach, FL 32114 386-252-6531

Heading back outside into the warm Florida air, we walked up and down a few blocks of North Beach Drive. This is the historical downtown district of Daytona Beach-where everyone did their shopping before malls! The chocolate shop is located just a few doors down from a beautiful Kress Building, a reminder of the chain of “five and dime” stores built in hundreds of US cities from 1896-1981. This particular building was built in 1928 and confirms Samuel Kress’ vision that his stores would stand out as works of public art.

There is still much to explore, so let’s get going. Continue south along the palm-tree lined N. Beach Drive and turn left onto E. Orange. You just crossed the Halifax River, actually an estuarine lagoon and part of the Intercostal Highway, a 3,000-mile inland shipping and pleasure waterway from Boston, all the way around the tip of Florida, and then following the Gulf Coast to Brownsville, Texas. The name of the Halifax River is a reminder of the British rule of Florida between 1763 and 1783.

Tip of the Peninsula

Continue straight and then turn right on State Road A1A. Today, SR A1A serves as more a main coastal highway that spans for more than 375 miles along Florida’s East Coast, from Key West at the southern tip of Florida, to Fernandina Beach, just south of Georgia on Amelia Island. It’s the main road through most of Florida’s oceanfront towns. 

For 10 miles, you will pass through the coastal communities of Daytona Beach Shores and Wilber-By-The-Sea. Then turn left on Lighthouse Road. Our destination: The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. When you arrive, you feel like you’ve just entered a whole other world.

At 175 feet, it is the tallest coastal sentinel in the Sunshine State. If you are able, be sure to climb the to see a bird’s eye view of the beautiful inlet itself and the surrounding area. Built in 1887, there are 203 steps from the ground level to the gallery deck at the top of the lighthouse for a beautiful 360 degree view. If you are physically unable to venture to top, the lighthouse is still impressive to look at from ground level and there much to see on the grounds, including a Fresnel light museum and beautiful gift shop.

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum 4931 South Peninsula Drive
Ponce Inlet, FL 32127 (386) 761-1821

It’s Beachtime

We’ll now take S. Peninsula Drive back north to Daytona Beach. Turn right on Curlew and then right on S. Atlantic (A1A). We started our beach exploration from the Club Wyndam’s Ocean Walk Hotel (located near the corner of Ora Street and A1A) . Step right outside their back doors and outstretched before you:  the impressive Dayton Beach Boardwalk.

This historic promenade was constructed in the late 1920’s and now includes shops, restaurants, snack bars and the famous pier which juts 1000 feet into the Atlantic. You’ll also encounter a bandshell, clock tower and many beautiful embellishments made of coquina (Spanish for shellfish), a sedimentary rock composed of mollusk shell pieces and other invertebrates found along the Florida and North Carolina coasts, as well as a few other parts around the world. these were constructed by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) under President Roosevelt’s New Deal in the late 1930’s. Upon completion, the bandshell was considered the largest in the world.

The Boardwalk or Broadwalk?

As with many things in history, nothing seems to be totally black or white. So is the case with the name of this Daytona Beach landmark. It was originally constructed of wooden planks or boards to keep sand out of people’s shoes, thus it’s name. Others claim it took its name not from the wooden boards but from the structure’s designer, Alex Boardman. Today it is made of concrete, making it actually a broadwalk. Local lore say a newspaper editor refused to call it that in print because of the negative connotation of the word “broad.” Today it is most commonly known as the Boardwalk. So, you can take your pick!

These were just a few highlights from our trip to this special corner of Florida in 2019. Four days here just didn’t seem to do the area justice. There is so much more to see. On the way out of town, our chocolate radar once again heads for Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory for more confections for the road. Best wishes for many more years of success to this gem of a chocolate shop!

If you do make it to this special spot on the Florida coast (its only one hour northeast of Orlando), try and spend at least one night here to catch a glorious sunrise over the Atlantic. It is very special to walk along the boardwalk at that early hour, with very few people, and catch the golden hue cast over the coquina structures as the sun rises. It’s pure magic.

Daytona Beach: It’s so much more than a racetrack!

Wishing you Happy Chocolating wherever you may go!

Join me next time for another
Chocolating with Savina

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Chocolating with Savina: A New Blog Series

Hello Chocolate and Travel Lovers! My name is Savina Darzes, a Chocolate Educator from North Idaho. You might be asking yourself, what exactly is chocolating?!

Well, I believe it could be a noun or verb and could have several different meanings:

  1. The act of savoring a piece of quality chocolate, in a mindful manner, while fully utilizing all your senses.
  2. The celebration of the journey of the cacao bean from the tree to your tastebuds.
  3. Shopping (in person or online) for quality, fairly traded organic and sustainable artisan chocolate.
  4. To explore the history and cultural features of an area while stopping at local chocolate shops to savor different chocolate creations along the way.

It’s the last definition that will be the focus of these chocolating blog posts.

After leading Portland Neighborhood Chocolate Walks in Oregon from 2007-2012, I guess you can say chocolating is now a way of life for me. Everywhere I go, I look up the local chocolate shops and manufacturers to incorporate them in our travels. I’ve collected many notes and photos over the years and want to share them with you.

Chocolating at Nuvrei’s Bakery in the Pearl District.
At Teuscher’s Chocolates in Downtown Portland.

So, I look forwarding to seeing you again as we start exploring my favorite regions around this great, BIG chocolate-covered country of ours. Our first stop? Sunny Florida!

Until next time, Happy Chocolating!

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Mt. Hood Macaroons

It’s an impressive sight to view Mt. Hood from sea level when it emerges from behind the clouds in all its glory.

Yet, when I was living in Oregon, a fond memory was viewing Mt. Hood from a plane on a clear, moonlit night while on a westward descent into Portland International Airport.  There was something magical about seeing this volcanic peak, under these perfect conditions, totally bathed in moonlight as we went soaring by at eye level.

When I was looking for a cookie recipe a number of years ago on I had this image of this snowcapped volcanic sentinel in mind. Not the popular smooth French-style macaron that come in a gorgeous rainbow of colors, but the wonderfully traditional American coconut macaroon version.

Here’s my modified macaroon recipe, with a Northwest “volcanic” twist. 😊

Portland Oregon skyline with Mt. Hood in the background. Wikipedia Photos


  • 3 egg whites, separated and at room temperature
  • 14 ounces organic and unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. of your favorite dipping chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet or use parchment paper.
  1. Beat together the egg whites in a small bowl until it forms soft peaks- no pun intended!
  1. Add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Continue to beat until glossy.
  1. Add the salt and vanilla extract to the coconut and mix well.
  1. Fold the coconut into the meringue.
  1. Drop mixture by the teaspoonful onto the prepared sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Pinche the top of the mounds to shape them into a volcanic peak.
  1. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes.

Now comes the fun part. While the cookies are baking, melt your chocolate of choice in the microwave in 10-15 second increments. Be sure to stir between each heating until the chocolate is velvety smooth.

I chose to use E. Guittard’s L’Etoile du Nord” 64% Blended Dark Chocolate Wafers. I absolutely love the taste of Guittard’s “North Star,” which was apparent as I ate about as many wafers (discs) as I melted for the recipe! This chocolate is not too sweet, yet has warm, rich chocolate and spice notes which lend itself beautifully to baked desserts and confections. Here’s my favorite place to purchase chocolate online.

Dip each cookie, after they have completely cooled, into the melted chocolate while holding the tip of the “peak”. BE sure to get a firm grip. True, there may be a few “casualties” until you get the hang of it. Yet I believe the crunchy chocolate covered edges of “mountain base” makes this technique well worth the extra effort.

My first batch was dipped in pure melted chocolate. In the second batch I added one to two teaspoon of canola oil to make it the melted chocolate less viscous. The latter batch revealed the “terrain” of the slopes better and the individual cookies were easier to lift off the dish after they cooled in the fridge.

Maybe this will inspire you to create some of these macaroon mountain morsels for yourself. Or at least go out and buy some already made ready to be dipped into the chocolate of your choosing. Either way, have a “peak” experience and enjoy your choco-creations!

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“Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light”

At first, I was very resistant. Years ago, for some reason, I had heard about Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light by Mort Rosenblum but never read it. I somehow thought it was one of those many fictional reads. You know, the ones that give the impression of starring our favorite food group. Yet only using the word chocolate as a marketing lure.

Was I ever wrong!

Matt is a former Associated Press correspondence and author of “Olives: The Life and Lore of a Noble Fruit.” He admits that prior to his research for this book, he was “a chocolate ignoramus.” Yet 292 pages later, he presents the reader with his in-depth polished, research notes. An intellectual “voyage de cacao”, so to speak.


Rosenblum takes the reader under his investigative wings to discover the origin and history of chocolate. From a tiny Mexican village at the base of a volcano to learn the secrets of authentic mole. To the struggles of cacao plantations in West Africa. Together, you’ll find tiny Parisian chocolate shops tucked away along cobble-stone streets-you smell them before you see them! Venture through the intimidating doors of Valrhona in the Rhone Valley of France. Experience the difference between Swiss, Belgium, and British choco-philosophies. Closer to home, you explore the land of Hershey and a number of West Coat chocolatiers.

One is taken on an intriguing journey around the world. From some of the world’s largest urban centers to some of the most remote areas of the globe. Together, you both discover the history, biology, politics and challenges of Theobroma, “the food of the gods.”

Matt connects with some fascinating and passionate folks along the way, including Steve DeVries, Claudio Corallo and Chloe Doutre-Roussel- all important powerhouses in the chocolate industry.

The book ends in France aboard his boat on the Seine with these chocolate mentors, celebrating the end of his trail. You feel as if you are right there listening to their conversations as you all float along the river.

Mort Rosenblum,
From The University of Arizona at Tucson

There are benefits of waiting to read this book years after its publication. One can realize what a cacao “psychic” Matt was in predicting some important developments in the chocolate world scene. I’d love Matt to do a follow-up book on new developments along the global chocolate trail. It would be interesting to read some new predictions he’d make in the world of chocolate. We’d all be in for another delicious treat.

Lessons Learned: Don’t judge a book by its title. Don’t discount a book because it was written back in 2005.

I’ve added his book on olives to my list for future reading!

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What Are Your Earliest Chocolate Memories?

This question often sparks an engaging conversation among chocolate tasting program participants.

For me, it brings me back to our kitchen in our second floor flat in San Francisco’s North Beach and visions of my paternal Nana (my namesake) making a Sicilian specialty called Totos di Cioccolata. (The pronunciation of these treats isn’t like Dorothy’s little dog, but with the accent on the second syllable).  

My Nana, Savina “Carmelina” Fazio, was well-known for her cookies.

This spicy, iced cookie version not only has cocoa powder in it, but chunks of dark chocolate as well. I fondly recall eating them while they were still warm. Yet after they are cooled and iced, these are still heavenly. Roughly ten years ago, I called my Aunt Melina and Mama Maria and they shared this family recipe with me. As you might imagine, they both had slightly different variations on my grandmother’s recipe.  Big Savina (as opposed to me, Little Savina) never measured or wrote anything down- always cooking and baking “more or less by heart.”

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Cookies: 3 cups sifted flour (My family has always used Gold Medal), 1/2 cup chopped walnuts,  1/2 cup tiny raisins,  3 tsp baking powder, 3 tb Crisco, 1 cup sugar,  1 tsp allspice, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves, ¼ tsp nutmeg, 1 12 oz package Nestle’s mini semi-sweet morsels, 1 cup Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder (Nana would have to have this brand or she wouldn’t make them.  Not sure if it was because of the quality or the fact that Domingo was Italian!), 1 big orange for the grated zest and juice, regular milk.

Icing:  Powdered sugar,  regular milk  and lemon juice.

Putting It All Together:  Mix the flour and Crisco with your hands until the shortening is in very fine pieces. Then put in all the additional ingredients.

Carefully mix everything together (“Easy, easy,” as my Aunt emphasized). Slowly add the milk, a little at a time. Work it with your hands and be careful not to make the mixture too wet.  Let it stand for an hour.

Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball. Arrange them on a greased cookie sheet- they don’t expand much during baking, so can be fairly close together. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Be sure to watch the bottoms to avoid burning. Let the cookies cool completely.

For the glaze, mix powder sugar and milk with a fork. To make the icing shiny and add extra flavor, sprinkle in a tablespoon of lemon juice. Try to make it not too watery and not too thick. You’ll know the right consistency by sight and feel (Think Elmer’s glue). After the cookies have cooled completely, apply the glaze with your finger tips to the top and sides of the cookie. Let them dry overnight. (If you are especially motivated, you could then apply glaze to the bottoms).  Scrape excess icing from the bottom edges with a knife if you find that necessary.

Found a recipe that was similar to this one on the web, only they called them Chocolate Italian Wedding Cookies. I always thought wedding cookies were those powdered sugar-covered shortbread cookies from Mexico, Greece or Russia that just melt in your mouth. Who knows, maybe Italians were more realistic by adding those walnuts and chocolate chunks to symbolize the “rough and bittersweet spots” we encounter along the road of life!

Making these cookies can be tedious, but well worth it. Let me know if you ever try them.

Happy chocolate reminiscing. We’d love to hear about your earliest or favorite chocolate memories in the comments below.

Buon Appetito!

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Getting the Most Out of Your Next Chocolate Bar

Hold a piece of chocolate in your hand and you hold the end result of an amazing, global journey.

To fully appreciate the story chocolate has to tell us, one needs to visit a tropical rain forest. Within about 1200 miles north and south of the equator, the correct balance of rainfall, temperature and humidity creates the perfect environment for the cacao tree. Cacao, a broad leaf evergreen tree found beneath the forest’s canopy, thrives only within this narrow belt across the planet.

From the Tropical Rain Forest

The cacao tree has beautiful tiny flowers, only a quarter inch in size, which open only during the night. A gnat-like insect, called a midge (think small tropical no-see-ums), is primarily responsible for pollinating this tree. The young midges live down in the leaf liter. When the larvae turn into adults, they feed on the nectar, pollen and leaf petals of these small flowers. Not only are these insects responsible for the treat we all know and love, they also have the fastest wing beats of any creature, some say 20 times faster than a hummingbird.

The flowers, and the resulting pollinated football-sized pods, are situated directly on the trunk and branches of the tree. One can only image how surprised the early explorers were to see such an unusual sight. Many Europeans back home thought the early drawings by the explorers were incorrect and possibly the result of taking part in excessive native intoxicating beverages! Inside each pod are 40-50 beans surrounded by a like pulp which some says tastes like honey dew and is a favorite food of forest animals and young children alike.

To the Factory

This mixture of succulent pulp and bean mixture is then scooped out by hand out of the pod and place typically under banana leaves to ferment. The heat generated by the naturally occurring bacteria prepares the beans to unleash their flavors when later roasted. If the beans aren’t made into chocolate at the country of their origin, the beans are then dried, bagged, transported (sometimes by foot) to the nearest port, and shipped across the oceans to a factory to be further processed. Once at the factory the beans are cleaned, roasted and separated from the shell. They are then crushed and further mixed until the chocolate is produced and molded into bars and wrapped.

To the Taste Buds of Your Mouth

Slowly unwrap a chocolate bar. You begin tasting food before it ever enters your mouth. Your sense of sight is very powerful. Look at the surface of the chocolate. Is it shiny or dull? Feel it between your fingers. Does it melt slowly or quickly in your hand? Then smell the morsel. Now, bite into a piece of chocolate and let it melt on your tongue. This may require some patience and practice. Notice if the chocolate feels grainy or smooth in your mouth as well. You may experience an immediate blast of flavor, which then changes as the chocolate continues to melt in your mouth. Called a tasting arch, this parade of different flavors can be subtle or quite obvious. The lingering taste is just as important as the initial sensation.

It’s Personal

Whether tasting wine, cheeses, or chocolate, just remember that your experience is very personal. It is important to realize that everyone’s palate is unique. Some people have more acute sense of taste and smell. Others sense of taste or smell may have been dulled over time from allergies, smoking, etc. So be gentle with yourself. Don’t be intimidated if you can’t detect every flavor note written on the label. Have confidence in knowing that your tasting skills can continue to be developed over time.

The journey of a single cacao bean takes many twists and turns from a tree half way across the world to the taste buds of your mouth. That in itself is enough for total appreciation. Better yet, join us on one of our chocolate tasting programs and experience the magic of this amazing trek yourself.

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