Chocolate, Caramel, and Seafoam KrufflesPosted on November 8, 2010 – 1:03 AM | by OldManFoster
Hidden away on a tree-lined stretch of Riverside Blvd lies a candy store that turns out some of the most amazing chocolates I’ve ever had. How had I not heard of this place until recently?
Upon entering, I wonder if I’m in the right place. It’s quite cluttered, one whole wall is lined with toys and gift items and looks more like a storage room than a candy shop. Then, my eyes focus and I notice a big white refrigerator case filled with chocolate goodies and a table piled high with other candies. A head of white hair pops up and inquires, “Would you like a sample of what I’m working on right now?” Yes, this is the place. It’s a tucked-away chocolate treasure trove that Jim Kobasic has created.
Kobasic, who refuses to give his age but says he’s “getting old”, comes from a family of candy makers and chocolatiers. His grandfather opened Sayklly’s Candies in Michigan in 1906, where Jim would wash pots in his youth. That business is still around today, run by Jim’s brother and other family members, and was once featured on the Food Network’s Unwrapped program. With Kobasic’s, Jim is continuing the family tradition in Sacramento; his wife Marilyn mans the counter (and gives away samples) and daughters Nancy and Kathy comprise the fourth generation of Kobasic’s candymakers.
Though the shop first opened as a grocery called Jim’s Market in 1978, Kobasic couldn’t stay away from candy making for long. Chocolate is in his blood. Soon enough, he was making wholesale candies for Price Club and later, Costco. He finally decided to open the shop to the public in 2003 and stop selling wholesale. He does not currently sell his candies at any other retail outlets.
What’s so special about these candies? For one, they are all made by hand in small batches with the finest ingredients. They don’t have a long shelf life because there’s no artificial anything added. There’s no real need to worry about spoilage—they are so addictive that they’ll all be eaten before you know it.
Belying his traditional roots, Jim is pushing the boundaries of standard truffle flavors—or “kruffles”, as they’re known at Kobasic’s. Some recent samples I tried were Limoncello and Balsamic Vinegar. I know what you’re thinking – vinegar? Trust me, the balsamic flavor comes through the creamy dark chocolate at the end as a fruity sweetness – not like salad dressing. There is also the requisite spicy chocolate, made with cayenne pepper, and some anti-oxidant varieties— acai berry and pomegranate kruffle. They’re practically good for you!
Most avante-garde of all, Kobasic’s offers a seafoam-flavored chocolate, which is a top seller. Outside it looks kind of like a lump of coal coated in dark chocolate. Inside, it’s the pale brown of sea foam and tastes like honey. It’s a light and airy, caramel-y and crunchy texture fest! I’ll be going back again and again for this unique treat.
The more traditional candies, such as the plain dark chocolate truffle—with or without trendy sea salt—are also out of this world. They are creamy, chocolaty, rich and thankfully not too big-perfect one-biters.
Kobasic’s also offers nut brittles, caramels, chocolate and caramel covered pretzels, English toffee and salt water taffy. Don’t forget to try the peanut butter krisp, a peanut butter kruffle with a crunchy and creamy mixture inside.
And, excuse me, bride? Kobasic’s also makes wedding and party favors in whatever shapes and flavors your little heart desires. I’d much rather receive a Kobasic’s candy favor than a packet of those gross Jordan almonds. Give me some good chocolate! (Hint: I’ll be much more likely to buy you an expensive gift.)
5324 Riverside Blvd, (916) 448-3555, www.kobasicscandies.com