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Mary's Modern Homemaking
Sweet Place to Visit: Brown & Haley Outlet Store
For the first time in months I found myself with a weekend off and wanting to do something fun, fattening, and ever so delicous. I knew it was to be a day of overindulgence with chocolate. So, with my husband, off I headed to the home of Almond Roca candy: the Brown & Haley factory outlet store in Fife, Washington.
The original Brown & Haley factory was established in 1912 in Tacoma, Washington, by Harry L. Brown and J.C. Haley. Until recently, tours were available to the public. Unfortunately, due to new state regulations, the company was left with two choices: move to a more modern building or stay put and quit giving tours. Since the building and its history were very important to the company, they stayed!
While they still have an outlet store next to the Tacoma factory, they moved the corporate offices to Fife and opened another outlet store next door.
All the Almond Roca you can eat
But back to my day off. A trip to the Brown & Haley outlet store in Fife was just the thing: you will have the opportunity to sample 'til you feel like dyin'! Well, that may be a bit extreme, but I thought I had indeed gone to heaven!
When we entered the building we saw tons of chocolates and lots of old cooking equipment. We also learned about the history of Almond Roca and this 100-year-old company.
The copper Simplex Vacuum Cooker was used in the 1920s to shorten cooking time and is still used in candy-making companies around the world. In the 1970s the continuous vacuum cooker was developed, and Brown & Haley used it to replace their Simplex cooker in the 1990s.
While I walked around the store and took pictures, my husband sat at a nice table in a comfortable chair and watched a video on how Almond Roca is made. The store clerk kept him happy with samples and light conversation. Every once in a while the clerk took time away from customers and my inquisitive husband to answer a few of my own questions.
One thing I learned was that Brown & Haley not only created the best candy in town, they created a way to keep it fresh almost forever. By wrapping each piece of candy in foil and packaging them into airtight containers, the candies are preserved for a long time. As long as the packaging remains intact, the freshness stays.
The Almond Roca collection is known as the candy that travels. It has gone to at least 63 countries and is a favorite of U.S. troops around the world.
A Northwest favorite, the Mountain Bar, comes in vanilla, cherry, and peanut butter. This famous bar was once called the Mount Tacoma Bar, but has since been shortened to Mountain Bar.
Lots of choices and good prices
The outlet store is amazing, and the prices are pocket pleasing. Looking for a treat for friends, family, or yourself? It is here. Maybe you are a collector. Take a look at their beautiful variety of tins filled with candy.
How about the holidays? It's only summer, but they always seem to come too soon. The store not only has amazing nutcracker-shaped tins but also bits and pieces that are just right for baking. These pieces are great for cookies, brownies, and cupcakes. And for your Valentine, check out the many different heart-shaped tins.
They sell candies in boxes of 24 or more, or you can buy candy by the piece and put together your own collection in a jar!
You can find immense 10-pound slabs of milk and dark baking chocolate as well as small bags of what they call "baking pieces," which are the broken parts of the candies they make and are unsellable. The baking pieces change depending on what is available. These will not be on the website because they are not part of the regular stock.
I bought Chocolate Peppermint Chunks and Almond Roca pieces. I added the chunks to my favorite sugar cookie recipe and topped the cookies with pink sanding sugaror you could use frosting. I put the Almond Roca bits into my favorite peanut butter cookie, but they would also be tasty in chocolate chip cookies.
Helpful tip: making cookies ahead of time
I love cookies, but baking dozens all at once is too much for my family. So I press or cut them out, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and set the sheet in the freezer for 510 minutes until the cookies are lightly firm and cold. Then I place them in a plastic zippered bag for baking later.
Be sure to use a permanent marker and put baking directions on the outside of the bag. When you want a cookie or two later, take them out, place on a cookie sheet, bake, and enjoy the freshly baked cookie smell and taste!
New product: Almond Roca wine
This company is always looking for ideas on new products and will take a serious look at all suggestions. So to keep up with consumers here in Washington State, they have created a line of wine.
Yes, you read that correctly! They now have wine in the flavor of Almond Roca Cream, a cream-based dessert wine.
Since this is the first time the company has delved into the wine and spirits line, they turned to the Chocolate Shop Winery in Walla Walla, Washington, to bottle this new product. You can buy it at the winery or at stores in the Puget Sound area and elsewhere.
For more information on this new wine, check out almondrocacream.com.
More chocolate, please!
This was a very fun day for my husband and me, and I cannot wait to go back. Besides, we have now run out of chocolates, so we really need to return!
For those who live in Washington State, this is a must-go-to store. If you ever get out this way, do take some time to stop by.
Note: Product endorsements on Yummy Northwest are based solely on personal evaluation and opinion and are never solicited or paid for.
Mary Frances lives in Ravensdale, Washington, and loves finding healthy ways to keep her castle clean. She believes that what we clean with can be just as important to our health as what we eat. When she's not cleaning, Mary Frances battles the blackberry vines in her yard. Also enjoy Mary Frances's blog, All American Gal.
Mary's Modern Homemaking copyright 2013.