Phew! This week has been a big one for our family! I tried painting with watercolors in Wendell with Amy Richards, while my daughter and son enjoyed “water day” at their preschool. Wednesday was the last day of class for my daughter, which brought about a lot of big feelings surrounding the end of her routine of seeing her friends and teachers a few days each week. If there is one thing I can say, it’s that I am forever grateful that her school and teachers have already instilled in her such a love for learning and playing in school. It’s something that I hope she takes with her throughout life. But was she in a funk? Yes. So, I figured, “Let’s get chocolate from Chocolates by Whitney!”
Kicking Off Summer Fun in Wendell, NC with Chocolates by Whitney
To help my daughter get out of her post-school blues, I decided to have a special, “just us girls” outing to a small boutique chocolate shop that I happened to pass by on my way to my art class the other day. As I was driving down a residential road in the downtown Wendell area, I passed by this small building with the best mural titled, “Chocolate Strawberry” painted by Lisa Gaither. It’s a chocolate-covered strawberry busting through the white-painted brick exterior wall. I pulled over to check it out.
Located at 235 Cook Street in Wendell, NC, the storefront had, “Chocolates by Whitney” painted over the top bricks, but unfortunately they weren’t opened on Monday. According to the sign on the door, they are only open 11 am – 6 pm on Thursday and Friday, and 11 am – 5 pm on Saturday. So, I snapped a few pictures and knew I had to return.
The Awesome Smell of All Things Chocolate
Fast forward to Thursday and my daughter and I pulled up to the front of the store. There was only street parking available, but the streets were relatively sleepy and parking was close by and easy to find. We opened the door to the shop and were immediately hit with the sweet smell of all things chocolate. I’m from Williamsburg, Virginia and the smell immediately brought me back to visits to Wythe Candy and Gourmet Shop in Colonial Williamsburg. It was such a nostalgic feeling, and I was so happy to know that I just found a place close by for my kids to build that sensory memory, too.
Inside the Chocolates by Whitney Store
When you walk in, you are greeted by cozy, warm wood and chocolatey brown tones alongside clean white-painted wood and beadboard. The shop is small, but there is a big variety of options in the display cases. There are so many cute signs throughout the shop to remind you that chocolate should be enjoyed throughout life. While my ingrained self-guilt always creeps up when enjoying anything sweet, the signs definitely supported that Treat-Yo-Self vibe.
Chatting with Ms. Kelly
I didn’t get a chance to meet the store’s owner Whitney but did get a chance to chat with her sister, Kelly. She shared with me that Whitney hand-makes all items in the store and while she only opens the store 3 days per week, she works throughout the entire week to create her confections. She also does custom creations and orders.
I couldn’t help but think how perfect her custom pieces would be for a special wedding guest favor, a wedding chocolate tower (if you’re a bride or groom who isn’t a cake person), a fancy baby shower, or any other special event. Whitney enjoys supporting other small local businesses and uses their products in her confections whenever possible.
Ms. Kelly was kind and patient with my questions and I appreciated her customer service.
So Many Chocolate Choices!
We glanced upon the display cases and saw rows and rows of beautifully crafted artisan confections. There was a large variety from traditional truffles, peanut butter cups, and solid chocolates to items like chocolate-covered strawberries, grapes, and caramel apples. Other options included chocolate-dipped Oreos, chocolate-covered pretzels and marshmallows, cake pops, and my daughter’s choice, chocolate-covered Rice Krispy treats.
She also had seasonal options, like some beautiful pieces to honor Memorial Day. I’m sure there were more options I’m not mentioning, but I was happily overwhelmed with all of the varieties! My daughter’s eyes lit up at all of the choices.
Considering Special Dietary Needs
Ms. Kelly shared with me that while the shop is not a nut-free facility, they do make nut-free options. There are also sugar-free options for those who want or need to watch their sugar intake. Whitney also has dairy-free chocolate that she can use for chocolate-dipped fruits- which might be considered vegan (Ms. Kelly wasn’t 100% sure about this- so give the store a call for more info). Gluten-free options are also available. There is such a wide variety of options for many to enjoy!
Like A Kid In Chocolate Candy Shop
I let my daughter pick out the special treat she and her brother would get to share later that night. She chose a classic- a chocolate-covered Rice Krispy treat covered in mini M&Ms. It was sizeable enough for two kids to share. I picked out a double-dipped milk chocolate turtle and for my husband, I chose the milk chocolate-covered Oreo with a peanut butter cup in the middle. I also had to try one of the white chocolate blueberry creams just because it sounded so unique and looked so beautiful. Each piece was pretty sizeable.
The purchase cost approximately $13 for our artisan confections. I was happy to have such a special trip with my daughter and to support a local business.
When we got home from being out and about later that evening, we opened up our little cardboard box and pulled out our treats. I split up the Rice Krispy treat for my kids to share. I think it lasted all of two minutes and resulted in sticky, chocolatey faces and fingers (as all good chocolate desserts should!).
The feedback I got from them was complete silence while they ate it- other than the initial “Oh this is yummy!” from my daughter. I feel like when you get silence from a toddler and a preschooler with food, you know you have a hit on your hands. This peace and quiet was brought to you by Chocolates by Whitney, Lol!
My husband and I enjoyed our treats a little later that night and we both agreed that the chocolates were rich and indulgent. My husband particularly loved the blueberry cream and wished we had had more.
Is Chocolate A Part Of Self-Care?
Between seeing the fun mural, enjoying the smell of the chocolates, chatting with Ms. Kelly, and tasting the delicious chocolate later that night, this was a trip that resulted in a multi-sensory experience. I can’t wait to enjoy it again soon. It’s easy for me to feel a little guilty sometimes when splurging calorically on something so indulgent. But, as Whitney’s sign says in her store, “Chocolate Doesn’t Ask Silly Questions. Chocolate Understands.” And in this world, we definitely need more understanding. <3