Veins of chocolatePublished 8:43pm Monday, December 5, 2011
COLOMA — It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Keith Hammond has chocolate running through his veins.
Hammond’s family has been creating handmade chocolates and candies in Michigan since 1885. The way he sees it, he is carrying on a tradition.
“It is in my blood. I love baking, and I love making candy,” Hammond said. “You have to put the love into it because, otherwise, you are just going
through the motions. If you really love what you do it is going to be reflected in the quality of your products.”
Hammond is bringing his family tradition to Coloma, where he opened D.W. Hammond Chocolates & Fudge in September at 126 N. Church St. in the city’s downtown area.
Everything he sells is handmade, including his chocolates, fudge, gourmet cupcakes, candy and scones. He doesn’t use preservatives or wax in his chocolate and what is in the case is generally never more than a couple weeks old.
Hammond’s No. 1 selling item is the self-proclaimed “Michiana’s favorite turtles,” which are shaped appropriately like turtles. Jumbo chocolate-covered cherries and old-fashioned cremes are also big sellers.
“I am bold on all my flavors. I don’t make anything light,” Hammond said. “Even with the cupcakes. They have just very bold flavors.”
The store is named after Hammond’s great-grandfather, David Wilson Hammond, who began making handmade
chocolates and candies in 1885 in Bangor.
Keith Hammond cut his sweet tooth in the candy business at age 5 by helping his grandparents roll taffy into wax paper. His grandparents paid him in banana taffy.
“That was my favorite flavor,” Hammond said.
Hammond continued to help his family make candy and chocolate before opening D.W. Hammond Chocolates & Fudge in Benton Harbor in 2009. He decided to relocate to Coloma to take advantage of the growing community.
“Coloma is getting to be well known for its wineries and chocolate shops,” Hammond said.
His business is the third chocolate shop to open in Coloma.
“All three of us are a little bit different, so there is a lot for people to choose from,” Hammond said. “I think it will be like with antique malls. If you go to one of them, you will want to go to them all. And being downtown, there will be a lot of walk-in traffic.”
D.W. Hammond Chocolates & Fudge is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The shop serves scones, coffee and other items for breakfast. Hammond also creates custom items for special events such as weddings, birthdays and graduations.