PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Chocolates packed in heart-shaped boxes are standard fare on Valentines Day.

But doing things differently is a point of pride for Dorothy’s Candies of White Oak, where each chocolate treat is a hand-crafted, mini-work of art.

Co-owner Marti Gastel says the chocolate shop opened in 1947.

“My mother-in-law, Dorothy Gastel, determined that she would like to get her son, my husband Robert, through college some day, and she had been making chocolates with her mother, selling them during the Depression. She just decided to go into business.”

It was, and still is, a hands-on business. Fresh strawberries are hand dipped, one by one, in a creamy pool of Swiss milk chocolate. Individually decorated, these little works of art are almost too good to eat.


“This is a wonderful piece,” Marti Gastel says, holding up a high-heeled shoe. “It’s a hand-crafted high heel, just for that diva in your life.”

There’s a real jewelry box, filled with chocolate covered pretzels, and a chocolate jewelry box, filled with real jewelry. Things are just a little different in Valentine season.

“During the regular year,” Marti says, “75 percent of our purchasers are women. On Valentine’s Day, 75 percent or our purchasers are men.”

Could it be that men have ulterior motives?

“Chocolate is a vasodilator,” the co-owner says. “And so are some drugs on the market, such as Viagra.”

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