I love eating chocolate, and this week I got to smell the aroma inside a chocolate factory. I got to watch the gooey melting mouth-watering goodness being made right in front of my eyes. It was like, well, winning a golden ticket!
Edelweiss Chocolates in Beverly Hills opened in 1942 by Mrs. Grace Young. (At the time, she called it Candy Round Up.) She opened her combination shop/factory during the war to bring some sweetness into the world. Her specialty was a collection of homemade marshmallows covered in chocolate, nuts, and other treats. Mrs. Young would arrive at the factory at 3:00 AM to begin her recipe for the marshmallow candies so that all the ingredients remained secret. These candies are still available today, and the famous marshmallow collection takes two days and three people to assemble, and runs about $2 for each candy. I purchased a mocha marshmallow (divine) and a coconut-covered marshmallow (crunchy deliciousness). All chocolates at Edelweiss are handmade, and there are over ninety varieties. Madonna has her favorite, as did Frank Sinatra, Shirley Jones, and Lucille Ball.
When I was a little girl, I used to watch the television show “I Love Lucy,” starring Lucille Ball. In one of my favorite episodes, Lucy and her gal pal, Ethel, got jobs working in a chocolate factory. When placed on the assembly line, they had trouble keeping up with the speed of the chocolates coming down the belt, and they decided to “eat” their way through the chocolates that they had missed putting into the wrappers, as the belt sped by. (Today, the candy is not individually wrapped.) The show was filmed right at Edelweiss Chocolates in their Beverly Hills factory. I was beyond thrilled when I got to re-enact the Lucy scene with my girlfriends!
For the last eighteen years, Edelweiss has been owned and lovingly run by Madlen and Steve Zahir and their adult children. They also opened a second shop in the Brentwood Country Mart and an online shop here:
They regularly sell to royalty around the world, prepare goodie bags for weddings, and dust gold powder on chocolates for Academy Awards parties. They keep all the original recipes from 1942, but have added in a few new ones at the request of clients, such as “salted caramel” and “spicy chocolate.” Madlen said that chocolate is best kept at room temperature or in a dark cabinet, and lasts 2-6 months. (The chocolates with nuts have a shorter shelf life.) The theme of the shop changes with each holiday and season, so it’s always exciting to drop by and take a sniff and a sample.