Aigner Chocolate Challenge
HISTORY AND FACTS
Without personal bias, our chocolate is one of the best you can find, it dwarfs everything except the smallest ateliers. Three generations of chocolatiers are behind our product - the first, John Aigner came from a small province in Alpine Austria (Karnten) to open a chocolate store in the states. The same store he took over in 1960 (founded by another family in 1930) is where we continue to produce today - the building has been a candy kitchen since construction and we have machinery that hasn't moved in 80 years.
The family grew up living over the store and the second generation learned the trade day and night growing up.
John's son, Peter Aigner opened his first chocolate store in 1978, taking over a company called Martha's Candy Kitchen which was established in 1915. The next year he married is wife, Pia Aigner, who he'd met in Copenhagen, Denmark (while working in the airlines), and who then moved to the United States to work as a husband and wife team for the past 30 years.
In 2009, Peter & Pia's son (myself - Christopher Aigner) joined the business full-time and daugher (Stephanie Aigner) part-time.
The original building, and the only store currently in operation (consistently since 1930), is in Forest Hills, Queens, NYC. Over the past 30 years, we have operated stores in Astoria (late 80s for 5 years), Ridgewood (previously Martha's Candy Kitchen 1915 - 1993) and Manhasset (1991-2008) - all New York towns. We also sell through 'The Chocolate Box' in the Golden Nugget Casino in Vegas since 2009.
Pieces are truly hand-crafted - we use large copper kettles and a long wooden spoon to stir boiling batches of candy. We produce jellies that are tart and exceptionally delicate/soft, no gummy at all. Creams that are primarily fruit based filled with liquid centers, no the least bit granular and very vibrant to mix well with the chocolate. We also make a coconut cream made from real coconut shavings that is so fresh and perishable that it is only made during the cold and busy winter months. Truffles are a multi-day process - they have chocolate based centers flavored with real liquors and nut creams. Nuts for clusters and bark are roasted in house with our own recipe, using oils that are natural in chocolate to bring out the richest flavors. All favorites are made as well - chocolate covered pretzels, marshmellow, ginger, orange peels, etc. Full list can be seen on our website. Everything is produced from customized recipes that sometimes date back many decades.
We have customers that come from other states every Christmas or Easter (our biggest holidays) to buy our chocolate - many of which tell about coming as a child - lamenting their inability to find chocolate like ours. In the internet age, there's no reason for them to travel so far. We honestly love what we do, myself and my father grew up above a chocolate store and it's all and everything we know - hopefully you can help us share that passion with other chocolate lovers out there.
The winner takes away a $100 cash prize. All writers will receive feedback for their submission.
Deadline: Contest is closed. Deadline was Sunday, October 31, 2010.