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Gearhart's Fine Chocolates Gearing Up for the Holidays - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Gearhart's Fine Chocolates Gearing Up for the Holidays

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Tis the season of giving and lots of people are giving chocolate.  It's the busiest time of the year for a Charlottesville company that makes it.

The chocolatiers at Gearhart's Fine Chocolates are currently hard at work making thousands of pieces of chocolate every day.  Monday we got a behind the scenes tour of the Gearhart's kitchen and a look at how they're serving up so much sweet holiday cheer.

Every day between Thanksgiving and New Year's, Gearhart's in Charlottesville makes eight times its usual daily dose of sweets.

Gearhart's owner Tim Gearhart said, "Valentine's Day is certainly a very chocolate-related holiday as well, but I think there's more people giving one box to their loved one as opposed to Christmas time, I think people have a tendency to buy a bunch of boxes for their family, their friends."

To deal with all those holiday cravings, Gearhart's brings on extra holiday help.

"Whether it be summer or December 25, it has to be perfect, it has to be exactly the same and that's a challenge when you're going from 1,000 pieces a day to 8,000," Gearhart said.

It all starts with the ganache, or filling.  Once it cools on the trays, it's cut into small pieces.  Then it ends up at the enrober, a machine used to coat the confections.

Gearhart's chocolatier Sarah Schwartz said, "We put the cut chocolates, or in this case, our pipe chocolates on the belt and turn it on, and they kind of go through a fountain of chocolate."

The final step is boxing them up, and then they're stocking ready.  Gearhart says it's always rewarding to be a chocolatier, but especially around the holidays.

He said, "It's always funny to think about it on Christmas Day and I mention it to my employees sometimes about how fortunate and how cool it is to think about all the people that are opening boxes of Gearhart's Christmas Eve and Christmas Day."

Gearhart says the holidays are also a great time to get creative.  Monday Gearhart's Fine Chocolates submitted their entry to Charlottesville's Virginia Gingerbread Competition, complete with a chocolate Thomas Jefferson and a Paramount Theater made out of gingerbread.

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