The inside of Wittich’s Candy Store in Circleville looks like a 1950s ice cream shop and smells like a sugary daydream.
On this particular morning the shop has an especially sweet aroma. Owner Janet Wittich says she made a batch of honey nougat caramel creams the night before. Those would be cut into edible squares and then dipped in melted dark chocolate. She handed out samples of “undipped” pieces of caramel cream. They tasted delicious and somehow nostalgic, like a sunny afternoon at a grandparent’s house.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the homemade Wittich confections are products honed by several generations of practice and passion.
Established in 1840 by German immigrant Gottlieb Wittich, Wittich’s Candy Store is believed to be the oldest family-owned confectionery in the nation. The store passed hands until it eventually reached Janet and her late husband, Fred Wittich. Janet continues the legacy and says she runs the business just as her husband and his family did, anxiety included.
“We are trying to keep it going. I would hate for it to close up on our watch,” Janet says. “My husband was the same way; he didn’t want to be the one to let everyone down.”
At 175 years old, Wittich’s Candy Store has maintained a constant presence in Circleville. These days, that kind of track record is more than rare, it’s miraculous. Or maybe it’s just delicious candy and solid ownership.
“People like it and then it goes down in their families. Their kids come here and then their kids come here,” Janet says. “I think there is a lot of tradition, and [the chocolates] taste very good. We try to keep everything the same.”
There are no idle hands at Wittich’s. Janet and her 12-person team of “chocoholics” labor frommorning to night, six days a week to make the best-possible homemade candies. Ginger Sines, a 40-plus-year store veteran and cousin to the Wittich family, is one of the store’s “dippers.” She and other Wittich’s chocolatiers dip candies in chocolate, roast the famous Wittich “house nuts,” and make white chocolate buckeyes, among other tasty goodies.
There are treats like:
- 11 cream and three caramel varieties in the assorted boxes
- mint and white chocolate suckers
- cashew brittle, a Wittich’s specialty.
Janet and company honor family recipes and incorporate new, chocolaty ideas as well.
“Anything that sits here we are going to try it in chocolate,” Sines says. “If we can’t sell it, we just try to see what it tastes like. Just anything we bring in; we dip it and see what it tastes like.”
When in doubt, dip it in Wittich’s chocolate. That is a philosophy everyone can endorse. Wittich’s Candy Store provides quality service and quality sweets. After all, if you take sweet in, you put sweet out.