No trip to Ohio is complete without a sample of a Buckeye and there’s no better place to check them out than Waggoner Chocolate in North Canton where the delectable peanut cream treat was born and raised. Just like the tree for which their famous candy was named, Joe and Stephanie Waggoner have grown strong staying true to their roots by basing their confections on high quality ingredients and service.
Stephanie runs the front end of their shop on Main Street while Joe leads the team in their massive factory behind. While they were highly successful chocolatiers working in the family business for decades, the current business was created after 9-11 shut down big major airline contracts and sent them back to the drawing board. They used the time to hone in on the proprietary recipes that literally make every flavor bounce around in your mouth.
As Joe hands you a sample jalepeno dark chocolate he warns the kick comes at the end. And he’s right. The first flavor is sweet, tangy and smooth and it’s not until you’ve swallowed that you notice the heat. It’s the same with all the other flavors as well – a strong in-house created peanut butter cream is surrounded by milk chocolate to make the Buckeyes in a fancy conveyor belt operation that makes you yearn for the I Love Lucy Show. The maple cream has the distinctive flavor we know and love without the cloying sweetness of too much crystallized sugar. And the blueberry filled dark chocolate zings your taste buds with a perfect balance of fruit and cocoa.
All the classics are available in lovely cases surrounded by basket and box combinations with holiday themes in the store where a tray of covered strawberries sits in the counter next to salted caramel samples. With over 100 varieties to choose from, a visit here will guarantee lingering sweetness carried away in boxes.
Joe will tell you he strives to adapt recipes to keep up with what his customers want which is why their signature mint melt always remain a staple in bed and breakfast inns and fine hotels around the world. The gourmet line of filled cups concentrates on high quality ingredients rather than fancy decorative elements like other pricier brands. “You guys don’t get it. It’s not about the money. I’ll just make a great product and make people happy” Joe told the bankers when he was rebuilding in 2003. And indeed he has.
For more about Waggoner Chocolates visit https://www.waggonerchocolates.com/ And special thanks to Chefs Veronica Cili, Debbie Thomas and Angela Perkins for being models in the above photos taken on site with Stephanie and Joe Waggoner.