What to do when you get here — An insider’s guide to interests and attractions in the area surrounding The Cliff House Resort & Spa.
Want to step inside the charm of an old world candy shop? Plan to visit Harbor Candy on Main Street (Route 1) in Ogunquit. Back in the 1940s it was the A&P grocery store but since 1960 it has been home to Harbor Candy. The exterior is painted maroon and green – and looks a lot like a confection itself! When you step inside, all your senses become engaged. Your eyes will see the beautiful glass cases filled with every imaginable candy! Your sense of smell will be tantalized by the aroma of chocolate and candy. But do not touch – point and it shall be delivered to you! My favorites are Raspberry Baskets, Chocolate Truffles dusted in Cocoa, dark chocolate Pecan Turtles – oh, and Almond Butter Crunch. They will even prepare your own assortment for you, but for me it is hard to beat The Petite Sampler.
Through the big glass windows beyond the candy displays, you can see candy makers dropping little dollops of chocolate into forms, or hand rolling yummy confections.
Jean Sotiropoulos-Foss, whose Dad founded the company, took me on a tour so that I could share the experience with you.
In a large, windowed room across the back of the building, a copper kettle of caramel was bubbling away over a gas stove, adjacent to a table covered with roasted pecans, at-the-ready for Pecan Rolls (nougat centers dipped in caramel and rolled in pecans). One candy maker was about to cut a huge sheet of dark chocolate fudge while another was completing a tray of exquisite marzipan fruits.
The people working at Harbor Candy, wearing white aprons and tiny cloche-like, striped caps, are so very creative. They told me they love working there. So would I. The air is delectable!
Then I was taken downstairs and met the man who fills all the boxes of chocolates that The Cliff House orders each week for returning guests. He works at a large table carefully selecting each candy. There is no conveyor belt, no factory whistle. This is a low-tech labor of love.
A new product has been developed for the Spa – seven handmade candies – one for each day of the week. The ingredients have some very healthy properties ranging from blueberries high in antioxidants to dark chocolate rich in flavenoids that benefit circulation and reduce blood clotting. One bar of dark (50 grams) has equivalent flavenoids of 6 apples, or 2 glasses red wine, or 4.5 cups tea, or 7.5 glasses black current, 15 glasses orange juice. Make mine chocolate!
The idea behind the new box of chocolates is that you could eat one candy a day reducing your stress levels. But can you eat only one? I get stressed thinking about it. Harbor Candy includes The Cliff House logo in this box of signature candies and returning guests will find it in the guestroom chocolates, too. The logos are made of sugar in Belgium! The process of transferring them to the solid dark chocolate was fascinating to see.
The chocolate used at Harbor Candy is purchased in bulk from one of the world’s finest and foremost processors of cocoa beans – Callebaut, Belgium – which they process into their chocolates.
You will be welcome to visit Harbor Candy when you come to Ogunquit. (Sorry, no tours. They would never get their work done; I am sure I was disruptive enough!) Many Cliff House guests do stop in and buy a treat to enjoy on the ride home. Oh, one more thing… You will see lots of old fashioned candies that your grandmother kept in a cut-glass candy dish, like Non-Pareils and Divinity Fudge. You will see a wall of jelly beans. And you will find sugar-free confections that are really delicious. Until you can visit in person, visit their web site, harborcandy.com. As for me, I’ll be taking the ride home from Ogunquit with an open box of Harbor Candy within reach.