Peppermint

Locals Guide: December

Peppermint

December is the perfect month for peppermint everything, and at Branson’s Chocolates that means Peppermint Squares, White Chocolate Peppermint Bars, and Gourmet Semi-Sweet Peppermint Bars. Our delicious Peppermint Squares have a layer of rich dark chocolate topped with a layer of smooth white chocolate and crushed peppermint candy. Our scrumptious White Chocolate Peppermint Bars mix peppermint candies and a touch of locally sourced peppermint oil right into the white chocolate. And our Gourmet Semi-Sweet Peppermint Bars have crushed peppermint candies stirred into the rich dark chocolate with even more sprinkled on top. Naughty or nice, you deserve some, so come in and pick up some for yourself.

The holiday season is fast approaching, so now is the perfect time to come in and order chocolate for the holidays. Branson’s Chocolates, your home for peppermint everything (and chocolate too!) is right here in Ashland at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard.  We’re just a block south of 7-11, next to Abbey Carpet Mart. We will be creating chocolate deliciousness at our shop all month long, so come on in and treat yourself.  Buy chocolate for someone else too and you’re sure to end up on the ‘Nice’ list! We’re open Monday – Saturday 10-5:30.

You can also find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

Huckleberry

Locals Guide: September

Huckleberry

Huckleberries are related to both blueberries and cranberries, taste like a tart blueberry, and are so juicy they have to be processed or eaten right away. Huckleberry season is short, usually only August and September, so Branson’s Chocolates is debuting Huckleberry Truffles and Huckleberry Bars right at the peak of their season. We’re dreaming of Huckleberry Truffles, smooth creamy dark chocolate center with a hint of huckleberry! And the Huckleberry Bars in delicious Milk Chocolate. We take a Huckleberry Fruit Spread made right here is Oregon; cook it down with some milk chocolate to make the gooey Huckleberry center.

‘A love of huckleberries — combined with their scarcity — has created a decades-long effort to produce the berry commercially. A University of Idaho researcher named Dan Barney spent over two decades attempting to create a domesticated huckleberry that would reliably produce delicious fruit at home. He retired without accomplishing his mission. “Domesticating the wild huckleberry is impossible,” says Amit Dhingra, associate professor in the horticulture department at Washington State University. “They have been established in the wild in certain conditions in the forest, and their genetics are suited specifically for that purpose.” Most forests require a permit and limit the amount of berries a person can take home. Some rules also specify that berries be picked by hand.

Throughout history, finding and picking huckleberries has been hard work, yet for people who love them, the effort is worth it. When asked why huckleberries are worth all this trouble, Joe Culbreth laughed. “I don’t know,” he says. “But once you’ve eaten huckleberries, you’re hooked.”’

You can find all this huckleberry deliciousness right here in Ashland at Branson’s Chocolates, at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard.  We’re just a block south of Omar’s, next to Carpet Mart. Come on down and get your own batch of Huckleberry Truffles and Bars. It’s sure a lot easier than heading out to the forest to forage them for yourself. We’re open Monday – Saturday 10-5:30.

You can also find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

Thanks to https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/08/11/542690164/for-the-love-of-huckleberries-august-brings-out-hunters-of-elusive-fruit

Creams

Locals Guide: August 2018

Creams

The Item of the Month this August is our creams, not just one of them but all. There is Strawberry, Raspberry, Key Lime, Lemon, Marzipan, Vanilla, Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Anjou Pear just to name a few. Our  Anjou Pear Creams are a rich creamy center flavored with the very essence of pear, pureed pear to be exact, hand-dipped in our rich 58% Semi-Sweet Chocolate. Most of our creams are flavored with real fruit purees and concentrates with no added coloring.

Then we have the non fruit flavors like the Chocolate Butter Cream that is made using a extra brute cocoa powder.  Marzipan is a traditional European treat eaten like candy, often molded into fruit shapes, sometimes dipped in chocolate. It is a sweet paste made of finely ground almonds and sugar. Our Marzipan Creams start with our classic cream recipe, stir in almond paste, and then dip it all in our delicious rich semi-sweet chocolate.

We won’t be out and about in August, so come see us in the store at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard here in Ashland. We’re just two blocks south of Omar’s, next to the Minute Market shopping center. We’re open Monday-Saturday 10-5:30 where it is always cool. If you’re lucky, you might even catch us dipping and pouring chocolate!

You can find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

S’mores

Locals Guide: July 2018

S’mores

Warming up by a blazing campfire, gazing up at the starry night, roasting corn on the cob on the barbeque —we love camping! And everybody’s favorite part of camping is S’mores—gooey marshmallows, crunchy graham crackers, and sweet chocolate. Eat them together, and they’re heaven on earth! At Branson’s Chocolates, we’ve got S’mores for you in July—made in both our rich Semi-Sweet Chocolate and our creamy Milk Chocolate. Of course, we only use gluten-free marshmallows and graham crackers. In fact, at Branson’s Chocolates, all of our delicious chocolate is gluten-free except for beer-based and whiskey-based items, allowing you to relax and enjoy our chocolate with all your friends and family.

Branson’s Chocolates, your home for S’mores and all chocolate deliciousness, is right here in Ashland at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard.  We’re just a block south of 7-11, in the Minute Market shopping center. We won’t be out and about in July, so come visit us in our store and get your S’mores while they’re here. We’re open Monday – Saturday 10-5:30.

You can also find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

Gourmet Chocolates

Locals Guide: June

Gourmet Chocolates

Here at Branson’s Chocolates we have chocolates that we call our Gourmet line. Some are not your everyday flavors, some are elevated flavors. They all are delicious and decadent. This month we are featuring our Gourmet Chocolates.

If you like your dessert a little spicy, or slightly exotic, or even a bit adventurous, we have the chocolate for you—Wasabi Ginger Chocolate. We add wasabi powder to a dark chocolate ganache square, dipped it in milk chocolate and top it with candied ginger.  It’s a gourmet treat for adventurous chocolate lovers which is inspired by a wasabi ginger potato chip.

Matcha Green Tea square is made by mixing ceremonial grade match agree tea powder into a white chocolate ganache, formed into squares, and then dipped in dark chocolate with a green Matcha chocolate stripe. According to many studies, Matcha tea makes this a sweet treat loaded with benefits:  L-Theanine, an amino acid known to create calmness and improve memory, powerful antioxidants including polyphenols and EGCg which is believed to be a powerful anti-carcinogen and catechins which help lower LDL cholesterol, to name a few. Thanks to http://www.naturallivingideas.com/10-amazing-benefits-of-matcha-green-tea/ .

Exotic jasmine tea is steeped to create the flavor in a semi-sweet ganache center, which is then dipped in delicious Belgian milk chocolate and topped with a sprinkling of jasmine tea.  Jasmine Tea Square is a delicious combination of bitter tea’s antioxidants and jasmine’s floral delicacy with gourmet Belgian chocolate.  Blissful everyday indulgence!

The best thing about Earl Gray Tea is that it is delicious, which is why BRANSON’S CHOCOLATES created our EARL GRAY TEA SQUARES. We steep Earl Gray Tea into rich cream, and then stir it into a dark chocolate ganache. We cover the ganache in milk chocolate and top it with a stripe of more dark chocolate. We are passionate about local products from local vendors, so we use tea from Full Leaf Tea Company based in White City, and cream from Umpqua Dairy.

This is just a few of our Gourmet Chocolates. To see the entire line of Gourmet Chocolates you can come into our retail location or check our website.

You can also find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

Lavender

Locals Guide: May

Lavender

We have partnered with our local English Lavender Farms this month to bring you all things lavender—Lavender Ganache Squares, Lavender Sea Salt Caramels, and Gourmet Lavender Chocolate Sauce. They are all part of our gourmet line. Our delicious Lavender Chocolate confections are made using English Lavender Farms buds and essential oil, which is distilled locally in the Applegate Valley. Lavender Ganache Squares are made by steeping the buds, infusing them into a semi-sweet ganache center, then dipping the ganache in our rich semi-sweet chocolate. Lavender Sea Salt Caramels and Gourmet Lavender Chocolate Sauce are both made with the essential oil. The lavender is a subtle background flavor and beautifully complements our dark, delicious chocolate. English Lavender Farms Lavender Squares are an indulgent, aromatic treat for the senses.

The English Lavender Farm, run by Sue and Derek Owen, opened to the public for the first time in the summer of 2014. They have been planting Angustafolias (English Lavenders) since 2012 and are turning their lavender farm into a luxurious venue for weddings and other events. Their farm is set on a gentle hillside, and there are stunning vistas of row upon row of purple lavender. They have spent time in Provence with French lavender farmers, and love to discuss the history of lavender production. Their drying barn serves also as a gift shop, and it is well-stocked with a wide variety of handmade lavender products produced on the farm, including Branson’s Chocolates English Lavender Farms Lavender Sea Salt Caramels.

If you want to catch us out and about in May, we will be at—

  • The Jackson County Master Gardener’s Spring Garden Fair at the Jackson County Expo, Saturday May 5th 9am-5pm and Sunday My 6th 10am-4p.

You can find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com, or come down to our store at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard here in Ashland. We’re just a block south of 7-11, in the Minute Market shopping center. We’re open Monday-Saturday 10-5:30. Stop on in, say Hi, and take home some Lavender Chocolate today!

The Sweet Life in Ashland

Southern Oregon Makers: Deena Branson of Branson’s Chocolates

Travel Southern Oregon

By Eddie Wallace

Photographer Jak Wonderly

For confectioner Deena Branson, owner of Branson’s Chocolates in Ashland, there was always a dream that she would someday own and operate a successful small business, but it wasn’t until 2005 that she dared to imagine turning her passion for creating delectable chocolate confections into that business.

Fast forward to 2018, when the talented and endlessly creative lifelong Ashland resident has a thriving wholesale and retail business, featuring only the best Belgian chocolate that goes into such mouth-watering treats as Anjou pear creams, lavender squares, wasabi ginger squares and blood orange creams, as well as your more standard treats like toffees and caramels.

After spending ten years in the late 90’s and early aughts learning everything there was to know at the Ashland Fudge Company – she even trained two sets of new owners during that time  Deena and her husband Kevin leapt at the chance to purchase the equipment and recipes when the company went out of business in 2005.

Since that time, through dogged determination and countless hours of hard work, Branson’s Chocolates has steadily grown its business and burnished its reputation as Ashland’s only locally-owned, locally-produced chocolate business, culminating in the opening of their retail space in 2014.

The early years of the business were spent working out of a production facility in a business complex, producing mostly for wholesale customers. Ashland’s Paddington Station and Grange Co-op were early supporters who sold not just the chocolates, but also the custom packaging that Deena created for each wholesale customer. Today’s customers include Butler Ford, the Ashland Springs Hotel, Anderson Auto Body and many others. In addition to making the chocolates, Deena’s ability to do custom molds and packaging has been a huge selling point for clients.

“I SOURCE LOCALLY AND DIRECTLY FROM THE FARMERS AND DISTILLERS WHENEVER POSSIBLE,” SHE SAYS. “FOR EXAMPLE, OUR MACADAMIA NUTS AND HAZELNUTS COME DIRECTLY FROM THE FARMERS. I CHOOSE OREGON-PRODUCED PRODUCTS AND LIQUORS OVER NATIONALLY PRODUCED PRODUCTS. THE MINT OIL THAT I USE COMES DIRECTLY FROM THE FARMER IN CLATSKANIE, OREGON. AND WE MAKE EVERYTHING IN SMALL BATCHES WITH CARE TO ENSURE THE QUALITY OF OUR PRODUCTS.”

Luckily, for the past five years, one hasn’t needed to be a wholesale client to enjoy the dazzling, mouthwatering array of treats that Deena, Kevin and their hard-working crew create. The retail location for Branson’s Chocolates is 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard in Ashland, and is open Monday through Saturday 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM.

Visitors to the retail shop will be greeted with a selection of chocolates that is impressive not only in taste but in variety. The ever-popular toffees and caramels are always available, but adventurous types will also find port wine ganache squares, truffles flavored with tequila (lime, sea salt and Patrón tequila), pomegranate, espresso, toasted coconut porter, pumpkin, raspberry Chambord, amaretto and so much more. Product sourcing and quality are important considerations that go into all of Deena’s creations.

A lifelong Ashland resident, Deena cherishes the supportive atmosphere for small-town businesses that Ashland offers. “We deliberately chose Ashland as the home for our business,” she says. “This is a community that is dedicated to supporting small businesses, and we are also fortunate enough to attract the kind of visitors who support local artisans and locally-owned businesses. We have people who stop by our store every year on their way out of town after their annual Ashland visit.”

Port Ganache Square

Locals Guide: December

Port Ganache Square

Branson’s Chocolates is debuting a new chocolate just in time for the holidays—Port Ganache Squares. We start with our delicious semi-sweet chocolate and local cream, stir in a heavy drizzle of Port, let it set, and then dip it all over again in that rich semi-sweet chocolate that you love. Can you say gourmet?

Fun fact about Port—the name Port is derived from the city of Porto, Portugal, where for centuries merchant ships loaded with casks of Port began their journey up the coastline to England. Port is a fortified wine, because brandy is added during fermentation, which helped sustain the fragile wine during its voyage to England, and also made the wine considerably sweeter. Port is known to pair well with decadent desserts, which makes it a perfect match for our chocolate!

The idea for Port Ganache Squares came from our newest intern, Tori. Tori is only a junior in high school, but is working with us for her senior project because she plans on graduating a year early—talk about hard work paying off!

If you want to catch us out and about in December, you’d better hurry! We will be at—

  • The 4th Annual Christmas Showcase December 1st-3rd at the Jackson County Expo in Central Point. It’s the region’s largest holiday gift and craft show with over 190 vendors. We will be there Friday & Saturday 10am-6pm, and Sunday 10am-4pm.

The rest of the month we will be right here at our store to fill your all holiday wish lists, your must-impress gift needs, and your own candy bowls and secret stashes. We’re at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard, just a block south of 7-11, in the Minute Market shopping center. We’re open Monday-Friday 10-6, and Saturday 11-5.

You can also find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

(Thanks to www.thespruce.com/what-is-port-wine-3510911 for the history of Port.)

Peanut Brittle

Locals Guide: November 2017

Peanut Brittle

There is something rather addicting about the salty sweetness of Peanut Brittle. One legend has it that in 1890, a Southern lady accidentally created Peanut Brittle. It is said that she was trying to make taffy but accidentally added baking soda to her pot instead of cream of tartar, which resulted in the crunchy brittle we know and love instead of chewy taffy.  Another more fanciful legend says that Tony Beaver, Paul Bunyan’s Southern folklore cousin, saved a town from flooding by pouring molasses and peanuts into the river, which created the delicious treat we all love. No matter which story you choose, Peanut Brittle seems to have originated in the South, which is not surprising as that is where peanuts were traditionally grown. Luckily for us, this treat has made its way out of the South, across the country, and into the copper kettles at Branson’s Chocolates, where we cook peanuts with brown sugar and butter to create our delicious salty-sweet treat– Peanut Brittle, one of the few confections we make without chocolate.

If you want to catch us out and about in November, you’re in luck! We will be at—

  • The 11th annual Ashland Culinary Festival, November 2nd – 5th, at Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites. We will be featuring our decadent Truffles flavored with beers and wines from local favorites Caldera Brewing, Paschal Winery and Vineyard, Weisinger Family Winery, and Grizzly Peak Winery.
  • The Holiday Market at the Expo, November 10th-11th, 10am-6pm, the mecca for local holiday shopping.
  • Paddington Station’s 44th annual Open House, November 18th, 11am-7pm. We will be selling our holiday favorite White Chocolate Peppermint Bar and Peppermint Squares. Stop by and say Hi!

Or if you prefer to catch us at our store, Branson’s Chocolates is right here in Ashland at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard.  We’re just a block south of 7-11, in the Minute Market shopping center. We’re open Monday-Friday 10-6, and Saturday 11-5 to satisfy your Peanut Brittle cravings.

You can also find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

(Thanks to www.candyfavorites.com/peanut-brittle-candy-history for Peanut Brittle history.)

 

Custom Confections

Custom Confections

Did you know that over 50% of Branson’s Chocolates business is done through custom orders? We have several different options of how you can customize your orders from molds to labels to the chocolate itself. Whether you are looking for a gift this holiday season or a customer appreciation item for your business we have several options to customize your confections.

Custom Chocolate

Have you always wanted to create your own custom chocolate bar? We have done everything from a bride’s favorite mixed drink in a truffle to various unique flavors of chocolate bars.

Custom Molds

Custom molds allow you to create a unique shape or engraving onto your confection and allows you to further personalize your order to fit your specific needs. Once you decide what you want your mold to look like it takes 6-8 weeks for the molds to be produced.

Custom Labels

To wrap up your final product you have the option of creating your own label for your custom confection. If you decide that you want to create a custom label rather than using the default Branson’s Chocolate label, you provide the logo that you would like to see on the front of the chocolate and in some scenarios I can create a simple graphic logo.

If you are interested in a custom order inquiries and pricing details can be emailed to info@bransonschocolates.com