Carol and Rob Cronin opened The Cape Cod Chocolatier at Merchants Square in Sandwich in the summer of 2002. Business grew quickly and they moved to a larger facility in West Yarmouth. Then in 2008, they moved into the Bell Tower Mall in Centerville, where, according to Carol, they had a much larger kitchen space and by adding ice cream, they could successfully “expand their market to year round.”
Both Carol and Rob are no strangers to the world of desserts. Carol's family owned a French bakery in Pocasset in the late 1970s and early 1980s. There she apprenticed under seasoned pastry chefs, and hired Rob, a culinary school graduate, in 1983. Four years later, they were married.
Although the bakery where they met was sold soon after, the Cronins remained in the confectionary field. Carol made wedding cakes and Rob moved into the supply end of super premium chocolates, consulting with confectioners throughout New England. It was during this time that Rob learned how to craft chocolate “from bean to end product.”
Because of Rob’s experience in the supply end, he recognizes that producing quality and fine chocolate begins with the selection of ingredients. At Cape Cod Chocolatier they use fresh, cream, butter and nuts, not to mention the best flavor cacao beans that have been properly roasted, fermented, ground and mixed.
“How they’re harvested matters,” Carol said, “And using the best beans available means better quality.” Most of the chocolate blends that Rob and Carol select come from the Ivory Coast of West Africa.
Rob is then in charge of making the “unique and quality and different things” for which the Cape Cod Chocolatier has become known. Their most popular treats are turtles and truffles.
Around Valentine’s Day they produce thousands of chocolate covered strawberries. Their busiest time of year—Christmas—is spent fulfilling corporate gift orders from local companies, and Easter is spent making chocolate bunnies and eggs.
All of the chocolate is slowly cooked in copper kettles—to provide even distribution of heat-- and hand stirred with wooden paddles-- to ensure the candy is thoroughly mixed. The candy must be brought to the perfect temperature in order to maintain the best taste and quality.
Rob follows recipes he developed, as well as those that have become a time honored tradition.
Carol believes that “candy is a lot about nostalgia.” Many customers who purchase their fudge, crafted from a recipe that is over forty years old, have been buying it for just as long.
After nine years, Carol feels they have a good following of customers who appreciate a good quality product. “It is a really happy business….sometimes people come in, and they are in a bad mood, and then they leave happy.”