Living on the Iron Range, we live a regional life. While I live in Hibbing and get most of my groceries, household products, and gear here, Virginia holds my Target, Aldi, dry cleaner–and CANDY. Wednesday I had a meeting in downtown Virginia, and when in downtown Virginia, it’s time to stop at Canelake’s Candies for sweet morsels to enjoy on the drive home.
My family, like most Range families, are HUGE Canelake’s fans. When my parents make their trek to Virginia, they will sometimes bring their favorite daughter (me) some dark chocolate hot air candy. If you have not had this decadent treat, picture a smooth, sweet-bitter chocolate covering a chunk of crispy, melt in your mouth, spun sugar. (For milk chocolate fans, no worries! They make that too as well as MANY other chocolates).
When I stopped in, I was greeted by Sam, Brooke and Vicky (photo). Sam, the women told me, is a “Canelake.” Sam continues in this family business, which has been in Virginia for well over a century.
Canelake’s began in 1905, with brothers Christ, Gust, Tom & Nick Canelake starting the “Virginia Candy Kitchen.” Gust’s sons, Leo and John Canelake worked in the store as kids, and they became partners after World War II. They changed the name to Canelake’s Candies. But nothing changed in the product. To this day, Canelake’s uses the same recipes and “only the finest chocolate, cream and butter.” It is made the old fashioned way, in small batches cooked in copper kettles.
With the holiday season coming up, our family begins buying boxes of chocolates. It is one of those family traditions made extra special on the Iron Range, where we can by Canelake’s superb confections.
Small businesses make communities. They flavor our culture, provide employment, and keep dollars in our local economy. In the case of Canelake’s, it is extra sweet.