By Tess Malijenovsky
A love for chocolate is a lasting desire. Just take a look at Beaufort’s local chocolatier, The Chocolate Tree, which has been in business for 32 years. The specialty chocolate shop will be busy once again preparing for its biggest event: the 28th All-You-Can-Eat Night on Friday, August 17.
But the idea behind the popular candy buffet grew more out of necessity than creativity. “Honestly, way back when the heat in August was so hot and the electric bill was crazy, we just did it to pay the electric bill in August,” said Joy King, an owner of The Chocolate Tree.
However, in the last three decades this annual event has evolved into a sold-out family tradition. Joy has watched families grow — before they had kids and after having several — and year after year they return to the All-You-Can-Eat Night.
“We have people calling in May, ‘When is it going to be?’ And they schedule their vacations around it!” said Joy.
Just four years ago, The Chocolate Tree began splitting the event into two different timed sessions because there is such great attendance that there was concern for fire code requirements. This year, those two sessions will be from 6:30-8 p.m. and 8:30-10:15 p.m.
At the event adults of all ages (and their children too) can once again feel like a kid in a candy shop with the opportunity to sample chocolates until their heart’s content. “We tell them to pace themselves but they think they know better,” laughed Joy.
A fresh batch of brittle will also be prepared and perhaps a new chocolate creation. The event is perfect for trying all the chocolates one’s ever shied away from.
“It doesn’t feel like you’re losing anything if you try something when you can eat whatever you want — and they may find new pieces they like!”
The chocolate business began with Joy’s sister preparing candies for her children’s teachers for the holidays. When the teachers learned to make the candies, they wanted to learn how to make them too. Joy and her sister began giving lessons and selling supplies and samples. When people kept buying samples, well, they extended into a full-blown business.
Sample for yourself all the goodies available at the All-You-Can-Eat Night at The Chocolate Tree, 507 Carteret Street, and feed your chocolate cravings. Tickets are $15 in advance and, if room is available, $20 at the door. For more information, call 843-524-7980.