Florida on a Tankful: The Easter Candy Factory

By Scott Fais, Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, April 06, 2017, 5:41 PM EDT

With a drip, and an ooze.

"I'll move over and pour the next one,” said Greg Morris wearing a hairnet and filling an inverted plastic mold with chocolate.

  • Whetstone Chocolate Factory offers tours in St. Augustine
  • Visitors get up close to the process
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Greg is the factory supervisor at the Whetstone Chocolate factory in St. Augustine.  His clear magnetic mold is kept together by magnets, which help create tension as liquid chocolate turns into solid Easter bunnies.

"I will make 3,500 rabbits this year for Easter," Greg boasted.

Once poured, Greg places the mold on a table that vibrates slightly. The shaking helps bubbles escape the liquid chocolate in an effort to create perfect chocolate bunnies. To aid in the drying process, all molds are put in an a cooling box that looks like a horizontal refrigerator.

Since 1967, the process inside this St. Augustine factory hasn't necessarily been kept a secret.

"I have a free souvenir," a tour guide warns when welcoming groups of 25 at a time.  The Whetstone factory is open for touring, under one condition. Each visitor, young and old, need to don a hair net.

Gentlemen with beards are also asked to wear a thin facemask before heading into the production facility.

Before tours depart, reruns of "I love Lucy" play, next to a wax figure and recreation of the scene from the famous black and white sit-com.

Inside the production facility, the buzz of running machinery is accompanied by a floor the same color as chocolate. Here, visitors can behold Greg at work.

"It's fantastic.  I get to be the hero every day I come to work," Greg admitted with a grin.

Visitors can get up close to the process here to make chocolate candy, along with fresh gelato.  Several different flavors like mint chocolate Oreo are blended by hand daily.

Greg Morris says he'll make 3,500 chocolate Easter rabbits this year.

On the other side of the production floor, the chocolate is now dry.  Everything in the cooling boxes escapes and needs to be packaged in a wrapper.

A 40-year-old machine from Germany gets the job done with a lot of racket.  Banging and pounding are routine, while an overhead camera allows folks in the back to get a look.

A newer model from Italy stays busy too, individually wrapping small tasting squares.

"Our Chocolate is very European style. It has a Swiss flavor to it," says sales manager Rob Marston.

The Englishman was teaching school in Asia when he met his wife-to-be. The St. Augustine native wanted to come home to Florida, so Rob followed and has enjoyed chocolate ever since.

"The emphasis is learning how to taste chocolate," he says of the tour.

Like any good Florida attraction, the tour ends in, you guessed it, the gift shop.

"All in all, it's just candy and it's just fun to make," Greg said.


Know before you go: The Whetstone Chocolate Tour costs $8.00 a person.  The tour lasts more than an hour.  All visitors are then given a $2.00 voucher to put towards a purchase in the gift shop.

Parking can be tight in the area near Flagler College.  All tour trams in St. Augustine will make a stop at the factory, allowing you to park elsewhere if needed.

Click here for tour information.