Ask anyone which I LOVE LUCY episode is their favorite and invariably they will say the candy factory one with its conveyor belt of chocolates that goes just a bit too fast for Lucy and Ethel. Sure the episode where the side of beef wound up in the furnace is great. As is that moment when Lucy stuck her gum in the dictionary. But most people remember the chocolate assembly line first.
Recently while doing research on the local chocolate scene, I came across a factory that has an old-fashioned candy conveyor belt. The Christopher Chocolate factory in Linwood, PA has a side business (Oh Ryan’s) that makes Irish Potatoes — dense little balls of coconut, cream, and sugar, rolled in cinnamon. This confection was developed in Philadelphia and is found throughout our region of Southeast PA. You can get a box of 15 at places like Wawa, Giant, and Redner’s. The box is plain, but don’t let that fool you. These little balls are delicious.
I loved visiting this factory. The high point was the rolling machine that rounds out the Irish potatoes. It’s fun to watch and the little balls roll off the line like a mother turtle dropping eggs. It’s a delight to watch and you can’t help but think of Lucy stuffing those chocolates in her mouth (and elsewhere) to keep up.
Watch the Oh Ryan’s! action: https://youtu.be/oXPmpGdJEFc
The machine is fabulous: old as the hills and totally mechanical. No on board electronics. If it breaks, you only need to take a wrench and a hammer to it.
Christopher Chocolate is packaging up love in the form of truffles, nonpareils, mints, and more. Get some today: https://www.christopher-chocolates.com
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— Sue Lange/producer, LE Bon Chef