Hoffman Chocolates: From the Florida Tropics Comes a Really Hot Product

Amid the usual pastel stucco architecture of tropical South Florida, stands a charming Tudor-style building that is home to some of the finest confections in the world. Hoffman’s Chocolates was established in 1975 when Paul Hoffman purchased the furniture and fixtures from Dolly’s, a small candy shop in downtown Lake Worth. After sixteen years as an engineer for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company, Paul decided to own a business in which he and his family could work together.

Paul’s father died when Paul was very young and his uncle, who owned an Italian restaurant, taught him many culinary skills which proved invaluable as he embarked on a career in the chocolate business. His first step was to join the Retail.

Confectioners International (RCI) and to attend Candy School in Erie, PA. With this acquired knowledge, Hoffman’s began by making creams and marshmallows. Within a few short years, the product line was expanded in a new roduction facility and retail store in West Palm Beach.

People lined up daily to buy the freshest handmade chocolates in South Florida. The company opened up a third retail shop in Palm Beach Gardens, followed by another in Boca Raton.

During this time, Paul traveled extensively to develop his candy making knowledge and skills. In 1987, the company purchased two-and-a-half acres of land in Greenacres. In 1989, the company opened its newly constructed 15,000 sq. ft. Tudor-style building which houses its manufacturing facility, retail store and corporate offices. The company’s production facility is comprised of three enrobing lines for milk, dark and white chocolate, and a molding area capable of producing two and three-dimensional products. Today, the company boasts a product line of more than 70 different confections and has seven Hoffman’s Chocolates shops in South Florida.

In 1997, Paul Hoffman brought Fred Meltzer on board as the company’s President and CEO. Fred’s background in
accounting (he is a CPA), finance, marketing and sales proved just what the company needed. Within a short time, Fred established financial and inventory controls and implemented new sales and marketing initiatives, while also overseeing the OU application process from beginning to kosherization. Having grown up with grandparents who were raised Orthodox, Fred had an appreciation of OU certification and the benefit it pro-vided
to Hoffman’s.

An unexpected benefit to being kosher has been enhancements to some of the company’s products. The marshmallow
formulation was changed to use kosher fish gelatin instead of animal gelatin, resulting in enhancement in both flavor and texture.

Hoffman’s is diligent in submitting its ingredient approval requests and new product authorizations, and the response to those submissions from the OU has been prompt. Hoffman’s OU RFR, Rabbi Manish Spitz, who visits the plant on a regular basis, is extremely knowledgeable. He was instrumental in the company’s decision to use fish gelatin and we find his input to be invaluable. For the past nine years, OU kosher certification has complemented the company’s quality products and we look forward to continuing this strong relationship.

Hoffman’s is proud to carry the OU Kosher Certified symbol on its packaging. The company has enjoyed longevity and an outstanding reputation for its handmade confections; having the OU symbol on its packaging further demonstrates
the Hoffman’s commitment to its customers.

Among Hoffman’s most popular products are its Double Dipped Chocolate Covered Pretzels, Almond Butter Crunch, and Milk and Dark Classic Assortment. The one-pound Milk and Dark Assortment offers thirty confections including creamy caramels, chocolate covered Australian apricots and pineapples, and butter creams. They are simply irresistible. As their trademark reads, it is truly “A family tradition of legendary Chocolates.”

The Hoffman dream of creating a family business continues to this day with Paul’s youngest daughter, Sandra. She exemplifies the definition of hard work and is responsible for ordering, packaging, product design and product development. Having grown up in the business over the past thirty years, she has been involved in virtually every facet of the operations. Seeing the trends within the industry, Sandra will be introducing dark chocolate with 72 percent cocoa content in the near future.

Meeting the customer’s needs and exceeding expectations is what Sandra strives for every day. Together with partner, Fred Meltzer, she sees a bright future for herself and the company.

Sandra emphasizes the company’s strong commitment to giving back to the community, especially children’s charities. “It is something we do because it is the right and just thing to do.”

Hoffman’s is proud of its accomplishments over the past thirty years. The chocolates are still handmade using time-honored family recipes and old world craftsmanship. All Hoffman’s confections utilize the highest quality and freshest ingredients from around the world. Products can now be purchased at any one of its seven retail stores or on the
company’s website http://www.Hoffmans.com.

Hoffman’s has emerged from being one of Palm Beach’s best kept secrets to becoming nationally recognized in such
prestigious publications as Bon Appetit and The Wall Street Journal.

Surely Hoffman’s has come a long way from that small candy shop in down-town Lake Worth.