Cupid — in the form of Larry Temo — has been hard at work, molding chocolate hearts and filling them with individual handmade candies.

These signature Valentine’s Day treats are available at the 70-plus-year-old Temo’s chocolates shop at 495 W. Exchange St. in Akron and at Acme Fresh Markets.

Temo, 86, hasn't had much of a breather after the Christmas season, for which he makes molded chocolate Christmas trees filled with chocolates. Temo, who started working in the family business when he was 14, even delivers his treats to Acme's 16 stores.

“It’s hard to stop, you know. It keeps me mentally and physically active,” he said earlier this week.

He does get one long break. The shop closes the day after Mother’s Day every year, and reopens in September. Chocolate production is halted during this time.

Last week, Temo, who makes all the hand-dipped chocolates, already was molding baskets that will be filled with chocolates for Easter. The shop also fills chocolate egg-shaped dishes with chocolates for Easter. Temo can’t recall how long the shop has offered the hearts: “It’s gotta be over 25 years.”

His brother, Jim, who died last year at age 84, created the heart, egg and tree molds, putting his mechanical drawing skills to work.

Larry Temo notes that Jim, who worked at B.F. Goodrich, where he was a design engineer, was part of the four-man team that designed the original spacesuit for NASA. Jim continued to help out at Temo's while at Goodrich, and after retirement he worked there full time, along with his wife, Elaine. She continues to work there, along with a few employees.

With Jim’s death, Larry Temo cut the wholesale business way back.

This year, he expects to sell a couple thousand hearts, which are filled with peanut clusters, raisin clusters and nuts — all chocolate covered — plus coconut and chocolate treats and more. That compares with some 5,000 or more hearts in earlier years.

At Acme, the smaller 1-pound hearts (with the shell accounting for about half the weight) cost $18.95, while the 2-pounders are $37.50.

These days, Larry Temo is considering selling the business.

"I've been thinking about trying to find somebody who would be interested [in taking over the business], but I’d want to make sure they’ll maintain the quality of the product … buy the same quality of chocolate” used in Temo’s confections.

His two daughters, both with successful careers, live out of town.

He and Jim took over the family business from their late father in the 1950s. Christ Temo began his Akron chocolate-making operation in his Copley Road basement and moved operations to Temo's current location in 1947.

“Thank God I’ve had a great family [some family members still help during busy times] and I’m lucky enough to have good people help me out. That’s what it takes,” said Larry Temo, who served in the U.S. Army after graduating from the University of Akron. “And a good company [Acme] to deal with.”

Acme Marketing Director Katie Swartz said the Akron-headquartered grocery chain has partnered with Temo’s “for as long as anyone can remember. I think that’s what local really means, partnering with other local businesses to create and sell products that our customers love.”

Larry Temo believes his store is the last remaining chocolate manufacturer in the city of Akron. (He is not including cottage businesses operated out of homes.) The city had some 18 candy makers decades ago, he said.

Chicken dinner

The Akron Hungarian American Club will host a Chicken Paprikash Dinner at 2 p.m. Feb. 16. The club is at 694 Waterloo Road.

I like the flier for the dinner, which will be two days after Valentine’s Day. It reads, “Happy Heart, Hungry Belly.”

Cost is $14 per person. Drinks are not included; a cash bar will be available. Reservations are required. Call Teresa at 740-516-8322 or email teresatokodi@gmail.com.

Creamery opens

Pav's Creamery opened its latest location on Friday at 2162 Front St. in Cuyahoga Falls.

It's in a former office building between Metropolitan Popcorn Shop and Yum Yum Sweet Shop on the stretch of Front Street where two-way traffic was restored last year. It has been transformed into a 1950s-themed ice cream parlor, where customers will be able to order a traditional milkshake or one of Pav's signature boozy adult milkshakes.

However, for now, if you want a shake, you’ll have to go boozeless, as they are waiting on the state to issue a liquor permit.

Pav’s Adult Shakes such as the Sweet Dreamsicle Shake (with Cointreau, an orange liqueur) are offered at the Green and North Canton locations.

Also like those stores, the Falls location has an expanded food menu and will be open year-round, from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday. The original Pav's is a seasonal stand. For more information, visit www.pavscreamery.com.

Empty Bowl back

Akron's popular Empty Bowl event will run from 1 to 3 p.m. March 17 at Summit Artspace, 140 E. Market St. in downtown Akron.

The event is a fundraiser for the Good Samaritan Hunger Center in Akron, and will feature soups from eight local establishments, breads, desserts and nonalcoholic drinks. The $50 tickets include bowls made by local ceramic artists, including Drew Ippoliti and those involved with University of Akron Myers School of Art, Ohio's Ceramic Supply, Tiny Cloud Pottery and Tindercraft Ceramics.

The center provides hot meals and operates food pantries in Akron. For tickets and more information, go to goodsamaritanhungercenter.org.

Wine release

Kent State Ashtabula Wines has released its latest wine, 17°, made through the university’s partnership with Laurello Vineyards in Geneva.

The new release gets its name from the temperature (17 degrees Fahrenheit) at which naturally frozen vidal grapes are harvested to produce a dessert-style ice wine.

Kent State’s Ashtabula campus launched the partnership with Laurello in 2017 to expand opportunities for students in its wine degrees program. Students get to participate in all aspects of grape growing and winemaking.

The grapes in 17° are from an area known in wine-speak as the Grand River Valley appellation. The area includes portions of Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties.

The ice wine has aromas of dried fruit and flavors of honey and sweet apricot, according to a KSU news release.

The limited release will be available for purchase at Laurello Vineyards beginning Feb. 13.  It is the third release from the Kent State Ashtabula Wines label.

The new wine made its debut during the Geneva Winterfest in downtown Geneva last Saturday. It will be highlighted during the region’s 15th Annual Ice Wine Festival, which runs the first three weekends in March.

 

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook.