I promised I would keep my Willy Wonka references to a minimum. I didn't say I wouldn't make any at all.
The Batch crew was invited to visit Colts Chocolates, a local, women-owned confectionary paradise in East Nashville. The company was started in 1984 by "Hee Haw" TV star Mackenzie Colt, whose homemade desserts earned her acclaim from co-stars, Hollywood actors, and famous musicians. This sweet side project eventually sparked a full-time career; thirty years later and Colts is shipping treats across the globe. And while Mackenzie sold the company and retired in 2019, the folks at Colts Chocolates are still handcrafting a wide variety of sweets. Kate Blocher, Colts President, showed us around and gave us samples(!).
We started at the confectionary cabinet at the front of their shop in the Inglewood area of East Nashville. You know that mouthwatering pie that I've been crediting to Edley's for all of these years? Yeah, Colts makes that. Apparently, even more than just wrapped goodies, they send baked goods to vendors around Nashville. Keep an eye out!
Colts Chocolate begins as these this little chocolate discs. These discs are then put into a machine that heats them up until a thick liquid, before being cooled through a process known as "tempering". Tempered chocolate is essential for candy-making. It makes it harder to melt, and gives it an alluring, shiny finish. Tempering is why I can't help myself around chocolate. Darn you, tempering.
[Colts Chocolate Bar-- Notice: it is shiny, tempered, and tempting]
Sidenote: Who knew that the shape of the Colts Bolt is accredited to a classic metal muffin tin? At this stage, the candies are frozen and firmly snug inside their trays. But that's nothing a good old fashioned table can't correct. The Colts Crew began smashing the tins on even larger metal trays, as the factory erupted into a harsh metal cacophony.
Next, we got up close and personal with Colts Chocolate Covered Marshmallows. This little army of marshmallows started naked and afraid, but we quickly pieced together what was about to happen next-- an always appreciated Flashdance reference. These fellas would soon be showered in a waterfall of gooey chocolate. And, don't worry, we got the whole thing captured on video.
Once the marshmallows were effectively enrobed in a mouth-watering chocolate robe, they were slowly run through a cooling chamber that made me wonder if they were scanning them for contraband. I tried to take a time lapse video of this process; however, they took a lot longer than I expected and so it ended up being seven minutes of me holding my arms up like a fool. It definitely would not get through the modern attention span, so I left it on the cutting room floor. Here are the finished treats, looking cooler than I could ever hope to look.
Nearing the end of the tour, I simply had to ask a question that had been driving me crazy. Mackenzie Colt is a real person. They are her chocolates. So where was the apostrophe in "Colts Chocolates?" Maybe no one else noticed this, but Kate Blocher was empathetic. She, too, had noticed the missing apostrophe long ago, and resigned herself to the idea that it would never be made truly possessive. Maybe it was done intentionally—the Colts Bolt doesn't belong to just one person, the Colts Bolt belongs to us all.
[Check out Colts Bolts Bites, available at Batchusa.com]
Photos and Videos by Erica Penley.