Come See What's in Store at Elements of Taste

By Liz Premo

Atlantic News, Thursday, January 29, 2004

A SWEET PLACE TO SHOP - John Watkins, owner of Elements of Taste in Hampton, is pictured here with an assortment of delicious chocolates that will impress your sweetheart on Valentine's Day. [Atlantic News Photo by McGee]

HAMPTON - Though the people in the industry agree that "January is usually a quiet month in the candy business," it's also the time that they "move from the Christmas holiday right into the Valentine's Day holiday," according to John Watkins, owner of Elements of Taste candy shop, located at 893 Lafayette Road in Hampton.

Stepping into Elements of Taste, it's clearly evident that Watkins has been using this traditionally "quiet" time to get ready for the holiday that's completely dedicated to love - and, some would say, to giving chocolates tucked into heart-shaped boxes. To that end, Elements of Taste comes through in more than one delightfully sweet way.

Along with a full array of mouthwatering candies (regular and sugar-free) to present to your special sweetheart, there are chocolate Valentine's Day cards, colorful conversation hearts, red ribbon candy, Gummi "hot lips," and cuddly, fuzzy Gund teddy bears. Hutchinson's Famous Fudge, made fresh in Watkins' candy kitchen in Rochester, is available in red, heart-shaped half-pound boxes. Delicious truffles wrapped and drizzled in pink and white come in a decorative tin that make this a gift that's pretty both inside and out - and definitely in good taste.

Elements of Taste opened last year on November 1, offering an incredibly grand assortment of confections, gifts, specialty items and gift baskets. Under the Hutchinson's label, the shop stocks bags of delicious caramel corn (in traditional, maple and hazelnut flavors) and peanut brittle, as well as four flavorful varieties of fudge. "We really make it the old-fashioned way," says Watkins, noting that many operations make their fudge "like a cake mix. And that's not the way we do it."

Opening just in time for the recent holiday season ("we had a very good Christmas"), Watkins says that initial customer response was extremely positive, with many people stopping by after hearing about the shop via word of mouth.

"That's been the most delightful [part]," says Watkins, adding "I think we've been very well accepted by the people in town."

Watkins is planning to expand his product line, and customers who stop in to make their candy purchases will soon be able to enjoy a unique treat: the Hutchinson's new candy kitchen will be in full view right on-site.

"By the end of January," says Watkins, "we'll have our entire operation here, including our [850 sq. ft.] kitchen," complete with copper pipes and gleaming stainless steel fixtures. Through a window located in a room stocked with old fashioned penny candies and saltwater taffy, customers will be able to witness the creation of the fudge, caramel corn and peanut brittle for which Hutchinson's has been famous for 100 years.

Though Valentine's Day definitely offers a very good reason to go candy-shopping, Watkins insists that "we don't want to be viewed as a shop that you only go into when you want to buy a special gift for someone." Stop by anytime, for any reason, during regular business hours of Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Try a free sample, discover what's new and good in the world of candy and make a very tasteful selection (including assorted chocolates available by the piece or by the pound). Come see what's in store at Elements of Taste, located at 893 Lafayette Road in Hampton. For more information, please call 926-3033.