HARTFORD — Customers overwhelmed with the tables of chocolates, candies, nuts and sweets joked to chocolatier Rosie Okinsky that they’d take “one of everything.”
Okinsky was selling sweets to the state employees at 55 Farmington Ave. in Hartford on Friday. For the past 19 years, she’s been a vendor at major employers in the state while running a chocolate factory and store in New Jersey. Okinsky is moving her entire operation to Connecticut and hopes to open in Factory Square on Center Street in Southington in about two months.
Okinsky’s great grandmother owned a candy shop. While unemployed, she started using her great grandmother’s recipes and selling candy. Now she’s making chocolate, fudge and other candy from scratch at Rosie’s Royal Chocolates in Toms River, New Jersey.
“If you love what you do, it shows,” Okinsky said. “Love is addictive and these were made with love.”
Nearly all of her product is made from scratch, including the peanut butter. She has her own enrober, a machine that coats food in chocolate. She uses it to dip cool ranch Doritos, Twinkies, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, potato chips, graham crackers and more.
“In food, the yin and yang is good. Salty and sweet,” Okinsky said.
The more unusual combinations of chocolate and food started with Okinsky’s booth in the Connecticut State House at the Big E.
Andre Pope, a worker at 55 Farmington Ave., bought a container of white chocolate-dipped Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Another favorite of his, chocolate s’mores, were sold out.
“You can’t get this type of candy from anyone,” he said. “It’s good.”
Okinsky goes to each of her vendor locations about once a month. There’s plenty of repeat customers and word travels through the offices that she’s set up her tables.
“They see one of the containers, they know I’m here,” she said.
Most of her business is in Connecticut although her production and house are in New Jersey. She’s looking forward to move to Connecticut, where she used to live.
“I drive 1,500 miles a week,” Okinsky said. “That’s part of the reason the move is going to help my life so much.”
The Factory Square location in Southington will allow her to produce candy closer to the companies where she sells them. It’ll also be a retail location.
The store is under construction. Okinsky isn’t sure of a completion date although she hopes to start moving in candy-making equipment in six weeks.