Chocolate Covered Cherries

Chocolate Covered Cherries: History, Benefits, and Buying Tips

Chocolate-covered cherries date back to the 18th century in Europe. Initially, confectioners used preserved cherries and coated them with layers of hardened sugar. By the 19th century, with the invention of chocolate molds, chocolate gained popularity as a coating. Confectioners experimented by combining cherries and chocolate, creating a new treat. Over time, the recipe evolved to include liqueur-soaked cherries, enhancing the flavors. Iconic brands like Cella’s and Queen Anne began mass-producing these confections in the 20th century, making them widely available.

Popularity Across Cultures

Chocolate-covered cherries gained international appeal due to their unique flavor combination. In North America, they became a holiday staple, often gifted during Christmas and Valentine’s Day. In Europe, particularly in countries like France and Switzerland, artisanal versions became popular in gourmet shops. Asian markets embraced them for their blend of East and West flavors. Major confectionery brands adapted the treat to suit local tastes, incorporating regional ingredients. This universal appeal solidified their status as a beloved delicacy worldwide.

Key Ingredients and Varieties

Types of Chocolate Used

Chocolate quality significantly impacts the overall flavor of chocolate-covered cherries. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate are the primary varieties used.

  • Dark Chocolate: Contains higher cocoa content, typically 60-85%, which gives it a rich, intense flavor. This option can balance the sweetness of the cherries.
  • Milk Chocolate: Contains sugar and milk solids, making it sweeter and creamier than dark chocolate. Milk chocolate pairs well with tart cherries.
  • White Chocolate: Made from cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids but no cocoa solids. White chocolate’s sweetness and creaminess complement the cherries’ tartness.

Cherry Selection and Preparation

The choice of cherries and their preparation play crucial roles in crafting chocolate-covered cherries.

  • Types of Cherries: Bing cherries and maraschino cherries are the most common types used. Bing cherries are larger and sweeter, while maraschino cherries are typically preserved in syrup and have a distinct flavor.
  • Preparation: Fresh cherries must be pitted, then soaked or marinated in a liqueur like kirsch or brandy to enhance their flavor before coating them in chocolate. Maraschino cherries are often drained and patted dry before use.

Making Chocolate Covered Cherries at Home

Step-by-Step Process

Making chocolate-covered cherries at home involves a few simple steps. First, gather the ingredients: fresh cherries, chocolate (dark, milk, or white), and optional liqueur for soaking. Ensure the cherries are pitted and thoroughly dried to help the chocolate adhere better.

  1. Soak the Cherries: If desired, soak the cherries in your chosen liqueur for at least 24 hours. This infuses them with additional flavor and moisture.
  2. Melt the Chocolate: Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate uniformly. Stir constantly to avoid any burning or clumping.
  3. Prepare a Setup: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. This step ensures the cherries don’t stick when cooling.
  4. Coat the Cherries: Dip each cherry into the melted chocolate, ensuring it is fully covered. Using a fork or skewer helps with the dipping process.
  5. Set the Cherries: Place the coated cherries on the prepared baking sheet. Let them cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Common Mistakes and Tips

Avoid common mistakes to perfect your chocolate-covered cherries. First, don’t skip drying the cherries, as excess moisture causes the chocolate to seize. Similarly, avoid overheating the chocolate; using a thermometer helps, aiming for around 113°F (45°C) for dark chocolate, or 104°F (40°C) for milk and white chocolate.

Ensure even and smooth coverage by maintaining the correct chocolate temperature. Also, don’t rush the cooling process by setting the cherries at room temperature. Refrigeration hardens the chocolate quickly and uniformly. For additional flair, consider drizzling a contrasting chocolate type over the coated cherries for a professional appearance.

Health Benefits and Concerns

Nutritional Content

Chocolate-covered cherries offer a mix of nutrients from both cherries and chocolate. Cherries provide vitamins C and A, fiber, and antioxidants like anthocyanins. Dark chocolate, often used for coating, contains iron, magnesium, and flavonoids. Together, they can form a treat that contributes to essential vitamin intake and offers some health benefits. However, it’s essential to remember that these are still confections and should be consumed in moderation to avoid excess sugar and calorie intake.

Potential Allergens and Health Risks

While delicious, chocolate-covered cherries come with potential health concerns. The chocolate coating may contain dairy, soy, or nuts, common allergens. Read labels if you have allergies. The sugar content can contribute to tooth decay and other health issues if consumed too frequently. Additionally, liqueur-soaked cherries carry alcohol content, which may not be suitable for everyone, especially children and those avoiding alcohol for medical or personal reasons. Always consume them responsibly and be aware of ingredient sensitivities.

Where to Buy Chocolate Covered Cherries

Best Brands and Manufacturers

Explore some of the top brands to find high-quality chocolate-covered cherries. Consider brands like Queen Anne, Cella’s, and Cherry Republic. Each of these brands offers distinct flavor profiles and packaging options:

  • Queen Anne: Known for classic milk and dark chocolate-covered cherries available in various box sizes.
  • Cella’s: Offers individually wrapped cherries with both milk and dark chocolate coatings, often featuring liquid centers.
  • Cherry Republic: Specializes in gourmet chocolate-covered cherries, using tart Michigan cherries and premium chocolate coatings.

Buying from reputable brands ensures consistency in quality and taste.

Online vs. In-Store Shopping

Evaluate the pros and cons of purchasing chocolate-covered cherries online versus in-store.

Online Shopping:

  • Variety: Greater selection of brands and flavors.
  • Convenience: Easy to compare prices and read reviews.
  • Delivery: Directly shipped to your door, often with gift-wrapping options.

In-Store Shopping:

  • Immediate Availability: Buy and enjoy without waiting for shipping.
  • Inspection: Examine packaging for freshness and quality.
  • Impulse Purchases: Discover local or seasonal specialty items.

Decide based on your preferences for variety, convenience, and immediacy.


Chocolate-covered cherries make a delightful treat that combines the rich flavors of chocolate and the tartness of cherries. Whether you’re making them at home or purchasing from trusted brands, understanding the nuances of these confections can enhance your experience. Remember to enjoy them in moderation and be mindful of any allergens or ingredients that might affect you. With the right knowledge, you can savor every bite and perhaps even discover new favorites among the many options available. So go ahead and indulge in this timeless delicacy, knowing you’ve got all the insights to make the best choice.

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