Saturday, February 27, 2010


My friend Tish Boyle, from Dessert Professional Magazine was kind enough to post us up on her blog! THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH TISH, THIS IS SO COOL, AND I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL OUR ARTICLE COMES OUT IN JUNE!!!


Hershey, Pennsylvania, a.k.a. Chocolatetown, U.S.A., has long been known as the epicenter of American chocolate. But it wasn’t always known as Hershey. Originally named Derry Church, it was the birthplace of Milton Hershey, who launched his chocolate company there at the beginning of the 20th century. They changed the name of the town to Hershey in 1906, a testament to Milton Hershey’s prominence and success as a businessman and benefactor.

Derry Church Artisan Chocolates was founded over 100 years later by another Hershey, PA native, chocolatier Eric Cayton, who named his company to honor the original Derry Church settlement. When he was a teenager, Cayton’s family had a reversal of fortune, and lost everything, including the family home. Cayton ended up living on the streets for two years, “hitchhiking, taking the bus, sleeping on rail cars, in camp grounds, and the couches of strangers, up and down the East Coast from New York City to Key West, FL.” He ultimately returned to his hometown and worked in various restaurant jobs, eventually opening up his own catering business in 1996. But Milton Hershey’s influence on Cayton remained a strong one, and he continued to nurture a passion for chocolate. Cayton eventually turned his passion into a business, opening Derry Church Artisan Chocolates early last year. Made with locally-sourced, organic Pennsylvania creams and butters, the handmade chocolates are all named for towns and cities. Classic flavors include Derry Church (soft caramel in milk chocolate); Milan (hazelnut liqueur flavored milk chocolate ganache in a dark chocolate cup) and Paris (strawberry jam and white chocolate buttercream in a bittersweet chocolate shell). Exotic flavors include Berlin (dark beer in a milk chocolate ganache); Kandahar (pomegranate molasses in a white chocolate ganache); and Oaxaca (chipotle peppers in white chocolate ganache). These chocolates are certainly in a different league than the ones Hershey’s produces. In the interest of full disclosure, I must reveal that Eric Cayton sent me an assortment of his chocolates, and I enjoyed them thoroughly. They are pretty, but not self-consiously so. I would describe them as honest. No elaborate transfer sheet or colored cocoa butter designs—the emphasis here is on flavor, and Eric Cayton’s passion for chocolate comes through in every bite of his finely crafted line of artisan chocolates.

Posted by Tish Boyle at 4:47 PM
Labels: Derry Church Artisan Chocolates, Hershey PA

Monday, February 15, 2010


CANDYINDUSTRY.COM (just click on title link above for the story, or read below)

Chocolate Heritage Evolves into Artisanry

February 11, 2010

Given that Eric Cayton grew up in Hershey, Pa., it’s not surprising that he was always interested in working with chocolate. Even as a small child, he remembers playing and experimenting with chocolate bars in his grandmother’s kitchen.

On his 15th birthday, Cayton started his first job, working for the Hershey Park Foods Dept. at a chocolate sundae concession stand, creating “walk-away sundaes.”

Eventually, Cayton worked his way up through the culinary ranks … from fast food to line cook, from sous chef to finally working as an executive chef and pastry chef at restaurants, hotels, country clubs and even a retirement community up and down the East Coast.“By the time I had settled back down in the Central Pennsylvania area in the early ‘90s, my childhood connection with chocolate had turned into a full-blown adult obsession,” he explains.

Cayton opened his own small catering company in 1994. He then began experimenting with chocolate truffles, fudge and other candies, selling them to his upscale clients.

“The concept of my chocolates company is simple: uncompromising ingredient quality, unique flavor profiles with balanced composition and aggressive, creative, innovative marketing,” he says.

For additional information, visit

What did you think you would be when you grew up?
I always knew, even from a very young age, that I eventually wanted to work with chocolate. I was always fascinated with the life and times of Milton Hershey and the wonderful chocolate company that he built with his own hard work and perseverance.

Name one or some of your favorite movies.
It would have to be Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.”

Describe your perfect dream vacation.
One thing I really, really want to do someday soon is travel to France to tour some of the great French chocolatiers.

What book are you currently reading?
Well, usually my hands have far too much chocolate on them to page through a book, but I recently received A.J. Rathbun’s new book on cocktails, called “Dark Spirits.” Excellent and lively read!

Aside from a family member, whom would you most want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
I would have to say Alton Brown and Bill Maher. I could spend days or even months talking to either of them about all sorts of interesting topics, but specifically food and politics.

What’s your pet peeve?
Probably my biggest pet peeve about human nature is greed — particularly corporate greed!

I’d give anything to meet:
I wish I would have had the opportunity to meet Milton Hershey before he died. As for someone that is still with us, I think it would be pretty cool to have lunch with Bill Clinton or Roger Waters sometime.

The best advice that I’ve gotten:
The best piece of advice I ever received came from a self-help book I read from Anthony Robbins, about 20 years ago, called “Awaken the Giant Within.” Basically, that advice was to stop letting my circumstances and personal emotions influence my decisions, and to simply decide for myself how I will react and take control of my own destiny.

What excites you most about your job?
The thing that excites me the most about running my own artisan chocolate company is how challenging it is to succeed.