Sweet rewards can be found off the beaten track

The Great Lakes Candy Kitchen, in Knife River, Mn. features fourth generation candy makers making candy with old fashioned techniques. Inside the store, shelves are lined with treats that will remind you of days gone by.


SOMETIMES part of a chef’s job includes some travel. Whether it be for training, competitive analysis, development or for food shows, from time to time you’re bound to find yourself on the road. I enjoy travelling for work as it always leads to learning something new that you can use to influence and develop your personal repertoire and keep you evolving your own personal brand of Tastitude.

Of course one of my favourite reasons for being on the road for work has definitely got to be for food shows.

Over the years food shows have taken me to all kinds of places like Winnipeg, Toronto, Chicago, and Minneapolis to name a few. Most recently we took in a great little food show in Duluth.

While these food shows almost always yield some culinary epiphany, a great deal or a new product you just can’t do without, sometimes the travel involved in getting to and from the destination yields fun foodie finds too. In my career travels I’ve been able to discover places like Mario’s Lemonade in Chicago, Pizza Lola in Minneapolis, the Deer and Almond in Winnipeg and of course the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto.

This trip was no different. The food show was well put together and yielded more than a few great ideas, some great deals on equipment and an opportunity to explore some of the newest eats available for us chef-types to roll into our daily cooking. But with the food show over and the road ahead not being anywhere we hadn’t been a hundred times, we weren’t much expecting to find anything new and exciting on the road home . . . that is till we got off the beaten track.

We decided to get off the regular route and take the scenic highway home as a it had been years since any of us had taken the old County Highway 61 on our way back north. As luck would have it we had made a great choice and we happened across an amazing little old fashioned candy store in Knife River called the Great Lakes Candy Kitchen.

This quaint little candy store is in its 11th year now at this location but is in it’s 4th generation of candy makers going back to 1905. The Canelake family is still doing things the old fashioned way using amazing and simple ingredients and old fashioned techniques including the gorgeous copper kettles that were in action the day we visited.

The smiles of the welcoming employees at this wonderful little sugar shack were infectious and they were only too happy to show this chef around.

Looking at all the handmade candy definitely brought out nostalgic memories of my youth and the whimsical creations like chocolate fish and high heeled shoes, brittles and flavoured salt water taffies pretty much guaranteed I wasn’t going to be leaving empty handed. With a hundred years of candy making history in this family, if you have a sweet tooth it’s definitely worth finding on your next trip to or from Duluth.

Of course I was drooling by the time we left and was anxious to break into my purchase and to share with the family upon my return home. We already have plans to return on my next trip to Duluth and I can hardly wait for my next sugar fix.

In the meantime I’m happy to share this little gem with you and encourage you to get off the beaten track.

Richard Moorey (aka Chef House) can be reached with email to chefhouse@evot.ca, through his website at www.evot.ca, or on his Facebook group Evolution of Tastitude. You can follow him on Twitter @House_74.

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