The life of a chocolatier has many unexpected Perks

Like sharing the Fold with Matt Damon in Stars and Stripes Newspaper. Not only are we big fans of Matt Damon from movies like The Bourne Identity, Good Will Hunting and The Departed and many others, We are also a Veteran owned company. So when we were made aware we were on page 15 and 16 with Matt Damon we were ecstatic to say put it mildly. Needless to say; The life of a chocolatier has many unexpected Perks.

The Mueller family has been in the chocolate business since Glenn Mueller Sr. worked in the candy department at the long-gone Lit Brothers department store just a few blocks from Reading Terminal. Glenn Sr. took what he learned there and, starting in 1981, opened five of his own stores with his wife, Theresa, selling hand-crafted treats. “Dad learned what we still do today, the old-fashioned way, and I think that’s why we’re successful,” Mueller said. “Other companies push a button and make two tons of truffles.”

Today, Glenn Jr. — who sometimes calls himself Dr. Chockenstein — runs the show at Mueller Chocolate’s 1,500-square-foot stall, which serves 100,000 customers a year. Mueller isn’t a bean-to-bar chocolate maker, a trend he calls “millennial-speak for re-creating the wheel.” Mueller gets its chocolate from Peter’s Chocolate in nearby Lancaster County — a company founded by Daniel Peter, who along with Henri Nestle was among the first to make milk chocolate in Switzerland about 150 years ago. “There’s a very distinctive chocolate flavor in Philadelphia,” Glenn Jr. said. “If you grew up eating chocolate here, it’s Peter’s. It’s creamy, with no astringent aftertaste.”

The sweet stuff takes hundreds of forms at the Mueller stall, none more infamous than the chocolate-covered raw onion. It was created in 1983, when the creator of a local children’s television show, “Double Muppet Hold the Onions,” asked the Muellers to make a chocolate-covered onion for Kermit to present to Miss Piggy. It turned Glenn Sr. and Theresa into Philadelphia celebrities — and earned wider fame in 2010 when Andrew Zimmern tried one on the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods.” “The chocolate onion . . . is hideous, but we’ve been doing it for 30 years,” Glenn Jr. said. “It changed our trajectory.”

In 2013, Glenn Jr. developed an icon of his own — the Chocolate Tower. Everybody was selling chocolate-covered bacon, he recalled, “and I got tired of people asking us for it.” Instead, he stacked a chocolate-chip cookie, an Oreo and a house-made peanut butter cup to create what he called the Monstrosity of Chocolatey Proportions. After selling out frequently, the Monstrosity added a marshmallow and a Rice Krispies treat, and became the Chocolate Tower. It has been a big seller ever since.

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