Oklahoma surprised me. A lot. And one of the things that most surprised me was the discovery of Bedré Fine Chocolates—both a factory and a shop owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation.
When I think of fine chocolate, I picture it served on small china plates in quaint cafes (though I’ve been known to break open a box or two in my own kitchen as well). An antiquated image, yes, but what I picture nonetheless.
Bedré Fine Chocolates is neither snooty nor snobby, and its candy is not served on small china plates or out of a quaint cafe. But the company does craft incredibly delicious treats, is super affordable and is well worth the stop if you’re heading through America’s Heartland.
It’s a small operation as most chocolate factories are. People are often surprised how little space it takes to make chocolate, and Bedré Fine Chocolates is no exception. When guests enter, they walk into a small shop coated in the lingering aroma of warm cocoa. A long glass counter with rows of chocolates (my favorites are the chocolate cowboy boots) and shelves stacked with gift boxes crowd the room, tempting guests to pick up a box of milk peanut clusters, dark chocolate crisps or pecan caramel treats.
At the back of all this is the long glass window that offers a glimpse into the magic world of chocolate creation. The truth is that it isn’t all that romantic: just long tables, huge stirring vats, conveyor belts and boxing stations. Though there isn’t much to a chocolate factory, it’s fun to watch the process happen. How awesome is it to see gallons of warm chocolatey goodness shaped into tiny cowboy hats, hearts and perfectly round medallions that are then boxed up and prepared for visitors to whisk them away in haste?
What I liked most about Bedré Fine Chocolates wasn’t the factory or even the sampling (which, of course, is obligatory and epic), but the quality of chocolate available at an especially affordable price. This is the real reward for seeking out a chocolate factory in Oklahoma. Not only are gift baskets and boxes of candies inexpensive, but those who seek out the damaged and discounted table are in for a special treat. The chocolates in these boxes and bags are may be broken or possibly just discontinued, but they’re so cheap there’s almost no excuse not to pick one up for the ride home.
(A quick note: No one is allowed to take photographs inside the building, so unfortunately this is the only picture I have. But trust me, the chocolate cowboy boots are adorable!)
2001 West Airline Road, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma 73075 | Free and open to the public
My visit to Bedré Fine Chocolates was made possible by the Oklahoma Tourism Board but all opinions are my own.