Many of my favorite things associated with Cleveland have to do with food. And what better time than the day before Valentine’s Day than to feature one of Cleveland’s best guilty pleasures – Malley’s Chocolates.
Many people who grew up in Cleveland may have first become familiar with Malley's as children, by selling their chocolate bars for fundraising. I have many memories of bringing home the small cases of chocolate bars to sell, which lucky for me, my grandparents took to work and sold easily to their co-workers. If we were lucky, my parents bought a bar or two for us – and with 6 children, those two bars didn’t last long.
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The Malley’s web site indicates they are a third generation business, established in 1935 by Albert Martin Malley, better known as Mike Malley. He learned the chocolate trade from working in a chocolate store in Pennsylvania when he was a boy. With a dream to bring chocolate to people, he borrowed money and opened a small store in Lakewood, and moved his family into the living quarters in the back. The candy kitchen was in the basement. As business flourished and more room was needed, he continued to add on to the building to accommodate the ‘hand dippers.” In addition to chocolate, ice cream was sold at the store.
Over the years, more locations were added, to the point that in 1990, they moved to the 60,000 square foot location in Brook Park, which is the current location of their factory. It is easily spotted from I-480.
But enough about the history. Malley’s is all about the chocolate. Besides the fundraising chocolate, Malley’s has quite a following for its milk chocolate covered strawberries, which they introduced in 1985. As they are made and sold fresh, they are only available on Valentine's Day (February 14th) and Sweetest Day (third Saturday of October). Also a local favorite are the Billybobs, which their web site describes as “chewy, gooey, nutty, milk chocolaty treats hiding in a buttery-smooth caramel center. Pecans are roasted and lightly salted.” Don’t tell my husband, but for Valentine’s Day, I got him a box of a new Malley’s candy called ”Heaven” which combines the pecan Billybob and the marshmallow egg. Hopefully, he will share them with me!
Nothing is like Easter at Malley’s in Brook Park, where “BunnyLand” is created, featuring just about any type of Easter candy, with varying sizes and types of chocolate rabbits, marshmallow and cream eggs, jelly beans, the list goes on. My personal favorite is the large, dark chocolate cream egg, which I buy by the small bagful, and usually eat them before Easter even arrives. (I spend the rest of spring working off the calories.)
Malley’s offers tours of their Brook Park factory (13400 Brook Park Road) for large groups.
Now, after writing about Malley’s while on an empty stomach, I think I am having a chocolate attack. That box of “Heaven” I bought for my husband seems to be calling out to me now. Hopefully I will be able to tune them out until he opens the box tomorrow. Lucky for me, there is a Malley’s store about a mile from my home. I think I’ll make an emergency chocolate run there this morning!
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