This Is My Favorite Chocolate Treat. What Is Yours?

Cora Lee Orange Peel fulfills childhood memories.

You can have your Raisinets. You can have your chocolate-covered strawberries, your chocolate-covered cherries, your chocolate-covered Oreos. For me, there is only one delicacy deserving a thorough coating of rich dark chocolate, the orange peel.

I am not sure how I first fell in love with these skinny strips of candied peel, but I know it was very, very early in life. Perhaps my parents first bought them for me as we walked home from lunch at Ashkenaz, the iconic Morse Avenue deli in East Rogers Park. The source was the Dutch Mill Candy Store just down the block. Sadly, once a thriving Chicago area chain of confectionery stores, Dutch Mill closed in 1988.

As I grew I kept seeking out my favorite treat. For many years, Marshall Field’s Department Stores were my go-to supplier. Although best known for Frango Mints, most Marshall Field’s stores had a fully stocked candy counter with a variety of fresh chocolates. I would make many Saturday afternoon visits to the lower level of the Field’s store in Old Orchard to pick up a quarter pound of my favorites. When Field’s became Macy’s, those visits came to an end.

Friends who know my proclivity for orange peels have tried to feed my flame. In that way, I have had the chance to try a variety of candy confectioners and chocolate styles. Some have been OK, none great. Either waxy chocolate or dried-out peels have doomed them. And one definite conclusion–bland milk chocolate is NOT the proper coating for the sugary peels.

Fortunately, several years ago Barb discovered a source that fulfills my fruity fantasy. The orange peels from Cora Lee Candies in Glenview duplicate the taste and texture of my Dutch Mill daydreams.

On my birthday or our anniversary, on Valentine’s or Father’s Day, I can usually expect a loving card and a pound of the Cora Lee sweets to be waiting for me on the kitchen island. I put the card on our buffet, pop the candy box in our freezer and then treat myself to an after-dinner chocolate crunch every night for a month to come.

A pound of Cora Lee Chocolate Coated Orange Peels isn’t cheap, but I guess I’m worth it!


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