Talk about art
February 6, 2020
Not all people, upon retirement, stop working.
Some people, like Nancy Monacelli of Walla Walla, find themselves working long days, all through the week, and enjoying every moment of it.
"I launched my business three years ago when I flunked retirement," the confectioner, who creates artisan toffees, chocolates, and snacks from recipes she has been refining for the last 30 years, says.
"For years, I made baskets of my candy for family, friends, and co-workers, as well as to take to gatherings or donate to events.
"My kids told me for decades that I should 'sell this stuff,' so I finally listened to them."
When you have five children, four step-children, numerous "spares," and the grandchildren from all of these, (12 and counting), it's hard to ignore family advice. So, she didn't.
Rather, Monacelli moved into a commercial kitchen at the Blue Mountain Station in Dayton, set up a retail shop in front, and began with her signature English Toffee. From there, she added Maple Toffee, nine flavors of chocolate bark, seasoned almonds, and BobPop, a salty-sweet popcorn snack that she named after the family dog because during research and development, he joined the humans in the family in the sampling process.
"He really liked it. So, around the house, we started referring to it as BobPop." When the final recipe was perfected and the family sought a name for it, they couldn't think of anything different from what they had been calling it. BobPop it was.
Using the highest quality, freshest ingredients, Monacelli sources what she can locally, ensuring that all her chocolate is dairy and soy free, and everything she makes is gluten free. During the warm weather she travels with her products to Farmers Markets, and during the winter she focuses on creating new flavors for the upcoming year.
From lavender to chipotle, from orange to Mexican mocha, the flavors are varied and fun, just like the person who puts them together.
Through February 22, Wenaha Gallery (219 E. Main, Dayton) is showcasing the many chocolates and toffees-and BobPop-of Mama Monacelli. The gallery is offering the confections in sizes ranging from two to eight ounces, and samples are available for trying.
The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.