Magic of the mountains — Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

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Valentine’s Day is approaching, and people are in a hurry to find the perfect gift for a significant other. Nothing says love like chocolate.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is one source of high-quality treats.

This popular chocolate franchise started as a one-man sweet shop in Durango, Colo. in 1981. The founder, Frank Crail, chose the specific location because of its close proximity to the Rocky Mountains and the small-town feel Durango provided.

At the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory at the Riverwoods, an associate makes and dips caramel apples. (Photo by Whitnie Soelberg)

Twenty-two years later, hundreds of shops can be found across the nation and in various other countries including Canada, Japan and United Arab Emirates.

There are 20 store locations in Utah. Provo resident Anna Finneran works at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory  located at the Riverwoods in Provo.

While none of the actual chocolates are made at each store location, the franchise’s famous caramel apple masterpieces are dipped each morning by employees.

“One thing that makes Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory unique from other sweet shops are our caramel apples,” Finneran said. “We provide a higher quality chocolate product, which is why we are a little more pricey than other places, but the apples definitely set us apart. They are our most popular items.”

The caramel apples are true pieces of art. Selections range from traditional caramel apples to full-on explosions like the German-chocolate apple, which is coated in caramel then hand-dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in pecans, toasted coconut and chocolate chunks.

“All of the specialty chocolates and fudge are brought in weekly from the main warehouse in Colorado,” Finneran said. “But we get to make the apples here every day.  We make the caramel from scratch in our special copper pots. It actually takes a lot of work, but we enjoy the artistic aspect of creating these apples.”

It is because of these caramel apples that customers like BYU junior Calli Nielsen, from Las Vegas, Nev. consider themselves regulars at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

“This was one of the first places I tried when I moved to Provo,” Nielsen said. “Someone told me it was a part of the BYU cultural experience, and I had never heard of it before, so I thought I’d give it a try. Needless to say, I fell in love.”

Nielsen makes a point to find any excuse to make a stop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

“Anytime I am close to the Riverwoods, I make a point to grab a caramel apple,” Nielsen said. “This is a little embarrassing for me to admit, but for a while I used to go a few times a month! I just love the apple pie apple that much.”

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