Sweet and non-scary Halloween treats at Fazio’s Chocolates

Some gourmet chocolatiers prefer to leave Halloween to corporate candy makers specializing in Trick-or-Treat deals. But Cindy Karrels of Fazio’s Chocolate (also known as Fazio’s Sweet Moments Sweet Life, 13425 Watertown Plank Road, Elm Grove) has a different approach.

“Halloween has become a big party for adults and children alike,” she says. Karrels, who co-owns Fazio’s with her husband, Mark, has expanded her successful fall-themed chocolates into a Halloween line.

She chose cute over scary, with seven fun and whimsical varieties like Spooktacular, a white chocolate ghost filled with milk chocolate ganache and crispy rice cereal. I’ve Got My Eye On You is a soft and creamy red velvet ganache in a white chocolate shell. Meanwhile, Mischievous Monster, a dark chocolate and salted caramel truffle, is eyeing Fazio’s Sweet Candy Corn, a vanilla bean and candy corn ganache.

When creating flavors, Karrels considers the chocolates she works with, what would work well in the interior and the design. “That’s how it all falls into place,” she says. “I was blessed with a creativity that I want to share with others.”

Learn the art of chocolate

November marks Fazio’s 10th anniversary. Karrels’ maiden name is Fazio and she is of Italian descent. She learned to cook and bake from her grandmother, Laverne Fazio.

Karrels had previously worked as a flight attendant for Midwest Airlines. After their takeover, it had to reinvent itself. “I thought about the things I like to do. My grandmother taught me her recipe for red sauce. My aunt, Judy Lizzio, always cooks with us. She taught us many things: pasta, salads and delicious Christmas cookies.

Karrels studied to be a pastry chef. The instruction included a chocolate section. “It was then that I fell in love with creating chocolates. You can combine creativity and artistry in chocolate. She took chocolate classes at the French Pastry School and the Chocolate Academy, both in Chicago. She takes continuing education courses on the products. “It’s important because there are always different art techniques and products coming out.”

These new techniques have been applied to the Flickering Fun Halloween candle-shaped truffle, made with a new amber chocolate. It’s caramelized chocolate with a light touch of sea salt, which pairs well with the dark chocolate ganache filling inside Flickering Fun.

Karrels’ first products were a craft line honoring his great-grandparents who had immigrated to Ellis Island. The chocolates are offered in a gondola-shaped gift box. Karrels’ mother, Lorraine, a nougat lover, is honored with Nona’s Nougat. Joseph’s Macchiato milk chocolate was created for his father, Joseph Fazio.

Karrels strives to offer something for everyone. She makes liqueur truffles and creative flavors for those looking for that “wow” factor. Classics include turtles, nut jumbles, dipped Oreos, and fairy crunch, nostalgic crispy sponge-style candies popular throughout the Midwest.

Last year, Karrels launched a range of vegan chocolates. “My dark chocolate does not contain animal by-products like butters or heavy whipping cream, and they are run on a separate line.” Fazio’s also offers a dairy-free hot chocolate mix.

For Thanksgiving, Fazio’s offers a cornucopia gift box filled with foiled leaves and cranberries. The artistically decorated Christmas line is influenced by Christmas songs, with chocolates like Hear the Snow Crunch and In the Frosty Air.

Work with chocolate

Karrels uses pure Belgian chocolate. She emphasizes the science behind getting the chocolate right. “We work with couvertures (chocolate containing a higher percentage of cocoa butter than chocolate sold for baking or consumption). It’s not chocolate that you can melt and dip. Along with the covers, there are different crystals that need to fit together. When it does, that’s where you get that pop and pop. Weather and humidity also play a role.

Karrels recommends that chocolates be stored in cool places like basements, hallways or pantries, and not in the refrigerator, as they will easily pick up other smells and tastes. “And eat it at room temperature, it will be creamier,” she advises.

Fazio’s offers gift boxes, custom orders and corporate gifts. For a preview of their Thanksgiving and Christmas chocolates, check out the Holiday Open House, Nov. 11-12.

For more information, visit fazioschocolate.com.

Comments are closed.