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New chocolate shop is a family affair

How sweet it is

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POSTED: January 12, 2011 9:02 a.m.
Photo by Katie McGurl/

Margaret Willis dips a strawberry in chocolate for sale at the shop.

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There’s a new sweet spot in town.
With everything from the traditional—chocolate-covered strawberries, nuts, crèmes, and solid milk and dark chocolates—to the unconventional and unexpected—chocolate-covered bacon, cream cheese, and Chinese noodles—this store has it covered … in chocolate.
All Things Chocolate and More, whose name says it all, is a confection whipped up by a local family.

The Willis and Riccelli families, transplants from New Jersey, have lived in Richmond Hill for a few years now. David and Margaret Willis, along with daughter Ava, 10, live together with Scott and Rosalie Riccelli, Margaret’s parents.

They all work in, and contribute their ideas and talents to, the chocolate shop.

“I had a chocolate store in Jersey from 1983-1996,” said David. “And my mother-in-law, Rosalie Riccelli, always wanted to open a chocolate shop … officially, it’s her store, and we all help out.”

“She just loves to cook and bake and experiment,” said Margaret. “If somebody comes in and wants something, my mom’ll go ‘I’ll give it a shot,’ like she did when she made chocolate-covered wasabi.”

Mrs. Riccelli, who prefers the behind-the-scenes work at the shop, creates something new almost daily.

She has created “Yummy Bars,” a mix of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, caramel, walnuts and raisins, as well as an “Elvis Bar,” with separate chocolate squares filled with banana purée, peanut butter, raisins, and cream cheese. Just a few days ago, Riccelli rolled out chocolate-covered pepperoni and cheese, which sold out by the end of the day.
“She’ll just go back there and say, ‘today I’m going to try this,’ and we’ll let the customers sample it,” said David.

Ava Willis is responsible for naming the store. She has also come up with a contest: chocolate lovers can put their name into a jar at the store for whichever type they prefer, milk or dark, for a once-monthly chance to win a box of chocolate.

“She just loves it,” said Margaret of her daughter’s feelings about their endeavor. “I mean, you know, she is a kid in a candy store!”

Margaret’s father, Scott Riccelli, treats customers to good-old fashioned service with a smile.

“We’ve met such nice people. It’s amazing,” he said. “I refer to our store as the sweetest spot in town.”

For now, the family is having fun, trying new recipes, experimenting with flavors and enjoying working together.

“We couldn’t get enough of each other, so we needed to spend the days together, too,” laughs Margaret.

“And we know where you are if you call in sick,” adds David.

The story gets even sweeter, if you can imagine that.

David and Margaret met in his first chocolate shop.

“So 17 years later, and it’s come full circle,” said Margaret. “And now Ava can enjoy it, too.”

Wondering how they resist the temptation of enjoying their homemade candy every day?

“We don’t,” Margaret, David and Scott say, almost in unison, and laugh.

 

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