Review: Christopher Hastings Confections

There is a new source of delight in Waterville nested in the beloved Holy Cannoli restaurant on 72 Main Street. Assembled atop Holy Cannoli’s own dessert cases, you will now find a humble acrylic display with bite-sized, Maine-made Christopher Hastings Confections. This chocolatier business began in 2014, and although it offers its products at select retail shops throughout Maine, its primary form of distribution is through online orders. Customers can visit its website, survey the array of options the website has, and select their desired flavors  to be delivered at their doorstep within a matter of days.

With under a dozen staff members, the business is adamantly against bulk production of chocolates. Human care and attention to the preparation and decoration of these confections renders the full and balanced taste they have come to be known for across the state. The business explains that the beauty of their chocolates is in the mouthwatering experience elicited by both seeing the chocolate and eating it: “dramatic presentation and flair tempt the eyes while each bite tantalizes the taste buds.”

What makes these delicacies special is not only their superb taste, but also the entire manufacturing process that yields them. Christopher Hastings Confections celebrates the vibrant flavors Maine has to offer by using as many locally-produced ingredients as possible. Its salt is sourced in Deer Isle, its maple syrup in Skowhegan, its dairy in Westbrook and Old Orchard Beach, and its honey in Portland. “The list grows every month as we’re always on the lookout for the very best Maine products—because they make our confections truly delicious and seasonal flavors that highlight the best of what’s growing in Maine is what we do,” the company advertises.

The Christopher Hastings Confections retail spot in Holy Cannoli provides a limited array of chocolates that are restocked periodically, at times introducing different, seasonal, or new flavors. Generally, the main ingredients in each flavor stand out, but blend quite nicely as a whole. The mint bite tastes extremely natural as the smooth and creamy filling melts over your tongue and the mint flavor slowly materializes. The Maine honey ginger confection blends the honey’s sweetness and the ginger’s bitterness to leave a delightful tang in your mouth. The general favorite was the Maine sea salt, in which the perfectly spun caramel filling reveals a fusion of sweet salt. It’s “sweet, but not too sweet,” according to Julia Gonzalez `20, and neither over nor underwhelming. The whiskey sea salt flavor tasted very similar to the Maine sea salt, only a little bit darker—a perfect choice for someone who prefers more robust tastes.

However, with other chocolates, one ingredient becomes far too overpowering over others. For instance, the applejack caramel bite at first tastes purely like caramel, with traces of apple surfacing ever so slightly only at the end. Sam Lee `20 quips that it is not the “best in the bushel,” while Gonzalez attributes this to the fact that it is “almost too sweet.” Similarly, the beer nut maple chocolate is overwhelmingly sugary, to the point where no other flavors are able to surface. Separately, while most of the chocolates contain silky fillings, the “needham chocolates” were packed with a flaky coconut filling that carried a nutty tinge—its “light consistency” makes it an ideal “light chocolate snack.”

Overall, the diversity of options—both at retail shops and online—provides all kinds of chocolate lovers a diverse array of unique flavors that portray some of the best ingredients the beautiful state of Maine has to offer, all packaged into bite-size, smooth and creamy fillings.

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