Baskets this Easter are sure to be filled with big-name candy staples, but why not add some local treats? Pittsburgh may not be known for its candy, but we certainly have plenty to offer, with long-running family-owned stores as well as some relative newcomers serving up plenty for the Easter Bunny to stock up on. Here are five of the best stores to hit up for some Easter candy this year — especially for chocolate lovers.
511 Adams Ave.
Canonsburg, PA 15317
A family-owned business started in 1978, Sarris is the area’s largest chocolatier, producing over three million pounds of it a year. Their Canonsburg store is also home to an ice-cream parlor for an added treat while you’re getting chocolate bunnies, peanut butter meltaways, and molded chocolates — or chocolate-covered pretzels recently praised by actress Sofia Vergara in People Magazine. Sarris Candies can be ordered online or found in over 1,200 stores in 10 states, so you’re able to enjoy it even if you’re out of town.
Betsy Ann Chocolates
322 Perry Hwy.
Pittsburgh, PA 15229
Founded in 1938 by a woman named — you guessed it — Betsy Ann, this company sells 200,000 pounds of chocolate each year and is known for their hand-dipped chocolate covered strawberries. But the strawberries aren’t their only handmade product. They hand-pour their truffles and hand-form filled eggs. Even their caramel is made from scratch, fitting in with the company’s focus on quality ingredients. And if you’re curious about the history and symbolism behind certain Easter candies and traditions, Betsy Ann prints an explanation on the back of each product, making them perfect for those looking to keep the meaning of Easter in focus. You can find Betsy Ann candies in over 75 area locations, in addition to their retail outlet next to their factory.
Edward Marc Chocolatier
1705 East Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Edward Marc has remained a family business since it was started in 1914 by Greek immigrants Charlie and Oriana out of their Lawrenceville home, and the company still uses the couple’s recipe today for its handcrafted chocolates. In addition to their Pittsburgh headquarters, Edward Marc chocolates can be found in the South Side’s Milk Shake Factory on Carson St., and their Snappers can be found in such stores as Costco and Target — and of course, you can always order online. But Edward Marc also has some pretty impressive political clout, as they once had a retail outlet in the Pentagon itself that they closed early last year to help make way for the Costco deal. The candy has even earned praise from Sarah Palin, who mentioned the company’s peanut-butter meltaways in her book “Going Rogue.”
1228 Long Run Road
White Oak, PA 15131
Dorothy’s Candies is yet another local company still owned and operated by the same family that started it. While Dorothy Gastel started the business out of her McKeesport basement, her son, Robert, runs the business now. Dorothy’s sells over ten tons of boxed chocolates across the country each, still made with Dorothy’s original recipes and high-quality ingredients. The company’s products have even been served at the Kentucky Derby and included as part of Oscars swag bags, while the Pittsburgh Opera inspired a line of dark chocolate with a higher cocoa and lower sugar content than most other dark chocolates. But for Pittsburghers, Dorothy’s Candies can be found at various local retailers.
901 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
The company may be called Sinful Sweets, but that doesn’t mean they’re not perfect for Easter. Though they’re a newer company — they’ve only been around since 2011 — they’ve still solidified a reputation for high-quality gourmet candy, offering all the traditional candies one would put in an Easter basket to creative and artistic gift sets to unique flavor combinations you probably won’t find anywhere else, such as Bourbon Bacon Caramel Chocolates and Caramel Bacon Turtles. Stop by the Cultural District store to see all they have to offer.
Related: Best Ice Cream In Pittsburgh
Janelle Sheetz is a 20-something closed-captioner by day, writer by night, just outside of Pittsburgh. She also regularly contributes to AXS.com and Examiner.com, and her writing has also been featured on The Billfold and Neutrons Protons.