Love affair with chocolates becomes a sweet business in SC

Two dozen patrons responded to EP Friends of the Library’s intriguing invitation. On Thursday, October 23 their 4 p.m. program bid visitors to view "Our Love Affair with Chocolate."  Featured speaker Jane Hagan and spouse Bud Rees own and operate Shady Cove Candies.

 Hagan launched the event with a nostalgic narration of her early
infatuation with chocolate. "As a kid, I’d get my allowance, ride a
balloon-tired bike to the store, and buy candy." She continued with a
description of  her teen years. "My skin broke out. Mom couldn’t marry
us off with blemishes, so she consulted a dermatologist who banned
chocolate. I then pursued my ‘chocolate fixes’ in secret."
Hagan started a family of her own, she sought ways to boost her income,
and turn apricots into gifts. She haunted libraries for recipes and
ideas for apricot candies. Soon she started entering Fair competitions,
and conducting classes in candy making.  "In California I won prizes,"
she said, "and had TV cameras at my home."
She longed to
start a candy business, but found it too formidable in the Golden
State. Five years ago, Hagan married Bud Rees, but didn’t change her
surname. "Bud says that keeping my former name gives me an easy out if
ever need one," she quipped. Upon relocating to Oregon, they discovered
a place highly supportive of cottage industries. "Now we have a
licensed kitchen in our home," she said. There Jane plies her
passion–making truffles, fudge, toffee, brittles, dipped fruits and
nut clusters. Bud’s versatility and engineering background help him
design equipment for producing and shrink-wrapping gift items. 
distributed flyers that debunk myths and extol the merits of chocolate.
It doesn’t cause acne, for instance, but actually contains healthful
anti-oxidants, she maintains. It also contains nutrients such as
vitamins and minerals.
She related a brief history of
chocolate, starting with Spanish explorers who brought cocoa beans from
equatorial regions to Europe. 1765 saw the first chocolate factory  in
New England. In 1876 a Swiss chemist named Daniel Peters added milk to
the recipe. Milton Hershey discovered German candy making machines in
1893 at a Chicago Expo, and added them to his production of sweets.
a question and answer period, Hagan mentioned how she valued Bud’s
help. Audience members wondered how she’d manage if her partner won the
Shady Cove Council seat, leaving less time to devote to the family
business. "Shrink wrapping doesn’t take long," Hagan replied.
One woman queried whether chocolate goes bad when it shows white spots.
explained conditions precipitating separation of cocoa butter from
other ingredients thereby causing the spotting. Unless it tastes stale,
you can bake it into a cake. But at 60 to 70 degrees, she added, dark
chocolate, would keep for a long time. 
A visitor from
Reno wondered what she’d done wrong when her candy recipe deteriorated
into a mess. Hagan furnished an 800 number to call with more details
when she returns home. 
"During what hours is your home business open?" asked another.
"If we’re there," Bud replied with a grin.

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By F.C. Blake
Of the Independent   

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