Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 13 ~ Chocolate and Salvage in Kentucky

Our plan today was to drive, meander through a couple of antique stores and just see where the road took us. 

Our first stop was Louisville at a very, very large multi-dealer design center.  This warehouse

had everything you thought you needed (and a few things you didn't know that you needed).

Next, we found a salvage, antique and antique reproduction "store".  It was very non-descript and at first glance, very small  (Ugh!  What did we drag the kids to now?).  It appeared to be a small village home. However, when you walked in you entered a maze of rooms, both indoor and outdoor.  Apparently, this salvage "store" comprises the entire block.

There were hundreds of fireplace mantels lined up outside, inside, under the eaves and in between buildings. They were stacked  like horizontal decks of cards.  Some were in various stages of restoration and some were reproductions
There were wood and iron fireplace mantels

and decorative tiles.
Can you imaging marrying one of those iron mantels with one of these sets of tiles for, I don't know, a kitchen fireplace ?

There were also garden urns and planters

Are these elevated planters?  How neat is that!?!
There were also some repurposing ideas

I know it's not a great shot, but the kids were getting cranky and wanted to move on.  This is a door mounted under a staircase.

So we moved on to Frankfurt Kentucky where we found a small chocolate candy making factory tour.  Leave it to us to find chocolate!  As an aside, do you know what the capitol of Kentucky is?  Louisville? Nope.  Bowling Green?  Nope.  Frankfurt?  Yes, Frankfurt.  As we are driving to the factory tour, this magnificent capitol building appears . . .

 . . . literally in the middle of nowhere.

OK, back to chocolate . . .
The name of the 'factory' was Rebecca Ruth.  This was a small, family run business in what appeared to be a tiny village house.  Rebecca Ruth is famous for bourbon balls.  After all, they invented them (didn't you know).  They cook the candy center, and after it is done cooking, they mix bourbon into it.  This way the alcohol in the bourbon is not cooked off.  You can buy them in milk or dark chocolate and they use three types of bourbon.  You choose your type of bourbon ball depending upon your personal bourbon preference. 

The tour took us into the candy center making room (which was not in use during our tour).  They have been making candy centers on the same heating element for the last 90 years!  They make candy the old fashioned way, in a copper kettle.  The candy centers then go through the enrobing process which adds milk or dark chocolate under and on top of them.  I did have a lot of questions.  Questions like "How do you switch the enrober from milk to dark chocolate?", "Where is your chocolate from?", "Do you mix different types of chocolate?", "Where can I get factory seconds?".   I mean at one point during the tour, our guide told us that Ruth and Rebecca were famous for the 'taste' of their chocolate (this was before the bourbon ball invention). 
What I was able to find out is that they do not make their own chocolate.  So tell me, how can a chocolate maker be famous for the taste of their chocolate if they do not make the chocolate?  I could not get ANY information from our guide other than "I don't know".  She could have at least hedged and said that she could not anwer my question because the answer is a trade secret, or she could tell me but then she would have to kill me.  Give me something other than I don't know!  Honestly, not the best tour guide!

We did get a sampling of the bourbon balls after the tour and they were ok ~ if you like bourbon (they burned my throat!).  We did purchase a sampling of the other types of chocolates, and they were good.  Due to the summer weather, we had to eat them relatively quickly, so they wouldn't melt or spoil in the car.  No problem.

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