Growing up, my mom had a very dear friend who us kids thought of as another grandmother. She was Granny Dee to us, a fixture at Sunday dinners and every holiday and milestone in our lives from elementary school through college graduation. Granny Dee was, like my mom, a fountain of wisdom on topics from marriage to etiquette – “Girls, never marry a man under thirty. It takes them that long to figure out what they want in life!”, “A proper foundation makes the outfit!”, or “Smile when you walk into a room, it relaxes people!”
So it’s no surprise that Granny Dee’s annual Christmas Eve party gift of a two-pound box of Russell Stover Nuts and Chews was delivered with good sound advice on how to share them.
Certainly “Once on the lips, forever on the hips,” was advice politely imparted to the plump. Choclaholics were cautioned, “He who is greedy is always in want.” But perhaps the biggest bit of advice we heard was echoed years later in the film Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.”
Which brings me to the pink stuff. Somehow, camouflaged in a perfect dark chocolate coating, mimicking the shape of a much coveted caramel, nestled amongst the other nuts and chews, was one piece of candy that had a pink filling. And nobody liked the pink filling. Etiquette dictated that if you took a piece of candy from Granny Dee’s box, you had to eat it. Nothing slowed down the attack on the box quite like the dread of getting the piece with pink filling.
Perhaps it is this experience that has made Brittle Bark a wild success in my family. The brainchild of local entrepreneur Diane Krulac, Brittle Bark started out making peanut brittle, but has expanded to a full range of brittles and chocolates. The beauty of brittles is that they are “inside out” so you know exactly what you are getting. Now for birthdays and special occasions, we often go to Brittle Bark, pick out a wonderful container from the selection in the store (the hat boxes are my personal favorite) and fill it with beautifully packaged candies. Diane or one of her team decorates the top of the hat box with ribbon and silk flowers – the boxes are almost too pretty too open.
Diane and her team make the candy in a little grey house, two doors down from the retail shop. Brittle Bark’s retail shop is located at 215 West Main Street, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 (yes, this is just one short block from the Orris House Inn – many of our guests are repeat customers.) Open Wednesday through Friday 10:00am through 4:00pm and Saturday from 9:00am until 2:00pm.
You can also buy Brittle Bark online at http://www.brittlebark.com/index.php. Definitely check out the great online video of Diane’s factory tour and candy making demonstration for Senator Pat Vance. You’ll find the link to the video on the bottom of the Brittle Bark home page.