TMR recently visited Salem’s Harbor Sweets Factory on a media tour.

Harbor Sweets does some wonderful things with chocolate, from dark to white, to caramel and raspberry ganache…but this company is all about its signature item…the Sweet Sloops! I can’t offer a better description than the one currently on their web site:

“Sailboat shaped almond butter crunch, a mainsail and a jib of white chocolate floating in dark chocolate with pecan spindrift washing her sides. We began making them in 1973 in our founder’s kitchen. Since that time, they have become world famous and to this day remain our top selling chocolate! Sweet Sloops make a perfect introduction to Harbor Sweets!”

The Sweet Sloop IS Harbor Sweets…encompassing about 80% of production, at over 33,000 units per day. The construction process is labor intensive and extremely hands on.

Once the triangular almond butter crunch pieces are formed, they run through a stream of white chocolate.

Next, the simple, yet most important part…making the sail! It’s done by gently running a spoon across each piece. A subtle line forms, thus transforming the chocolate-dipped toffee into the signature Sweet Sloop.  Founder Ben Strohecker would be proud!  This part of the process is almost mesmerizing.  In fact, I would have had no problem sitting in this chocolate-filled room the rest of the afternoon watching them form sails. I’m sure others would agree. But, back to the chocolate…

The pieces are chilled and then dipped in dark chocolate and crushed pecans. Tasting time! One goes such a long way. The sweetness of the white chocolate and butter crunch is balanced by the dark chocolate and pecans.  Good luck if you can eat more than two of these in a sitting.  I also tried some dark chocolate butter crunch balls, which given my love for dark chocolate, suited me even better.

As for our tour, it was laid back and highly informative. The company employs about 50-60 factory workers, most of which are local. There is definitely an air of camaraderie permeating throughout the facility.

The Sweet Sloop...finished product!

Boxes with the Sweet Sloops, as well as pieces of solid milk chocolate, dark chocolate, orange crunch in dark chocolate, toasted almonds in milk chocolate, and creamy butter caramel with pecan in dark chocolate, are offered in 10 to 100-piece assortments ($12-76).

And there’s so much more, including the collection of Dark Horse Chocolates, as well as sugar free selections (just to name a few). Check out the web site, and if possible head to Salem and pay Harbor Sweets a visit.

85 Leavitt Street, Salem, MA 01970 | 1.800.243.2115


Megan October 7, 2011 at 7:59 am

What a great tour that was! I’m so happy we had this opportunity to see how their handmade chocolates are made (and to eat some!) It was also great meeting you!

    The Mighty Rib October 7, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Same was wonderful spending the day with you and Kathy, touring the facilities, and eating some great chocolate. And let us not forget about the dinner!

natalie October 7, 2011 at 8:16 am

Wow, I bet that was so much fun! Might have to order the almond butter crunch sails… I go through a Costco-sized jar of almond butter every few weeks! Thanks for the link, I’m glad you had a great time!

    The Mighty Rib October 7, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Natalie, you’d love those Sloops! Hmmm..might have to bring a few to Seattle in a few weeks.

Erica @ Boston Rookie October 8, 2011 at 5:18 am

Whoa! Sounded like a good day! I’m on my way to Salem for the day, so I’ll be on the lookout for them!

The Mighty Rib October 8, 2011 at 5:30 am

If you are un need of a good restaurant rec try out Adriatic. We ate there after the choc factory and it was fabulous!

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