Happy to Give Back

Local Businesses Team Up for A TASTE OF THE REGION


Turtle, Truffle, Bark! is designed to take some of the mystery out of making chocolates at home.  It’s also the title of a new book by the Proprietor of Turtle Alley Chocolates, Hallie Baker.  A turtle is traditionally a pecan-studded, chocolate-covered caramel patty.  But in the book, and in her shops, the author transforms the treats combining cashew, pecan, almond, or macadamia,  in milk, dark, or white chocolate – clusters, exquisite barks, and original signature confections.  Located in historic Gloucester, Massachusetts, with a second store in Salem, Massachusetts, Turtle Alley’s reputation for warm, personal service and the finest, freshest hand-made chocolates is based on these simple principles: use natural ingredients, finest grades of chocolate, real butter, fresh cream, imported nuts and spices, and handcraft small batches for the “freshest taste experience available anywhere”.  Ms. Baker will be sharing some of her sought after sweets next month as Family Services of the Merrimack Valley welcomes Turtle Alley Chocolates to our First Annual A TASTE OF THE REGION, a fundraiser for our Essex County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program.

The evening will feature the signature cuisine of some of the north shore’s top chefs as well as a silent auction and a special guest speaker.  The goal for the A TASTE OF THE REGION is to raise crucial funding to recruit and train volunteer advocates so that all child victims in Essex County have a strong, dedicated volunteer to advocate for them in court.  The evening of wonderful food and community will also offer guests the chance to learn more about the important work our CASA advocates do in the service of children and families of Essex County.  Tickets are $25, per person.  We caught up with Ms. Baker (a Rhode Island native who discovered the north shore while attending Montserrat College of Art in the late 1980s) in the height of her busy retail season to learn more about why she gives back…

How did Turtle Alley begin, and how long have you been in business?  Any treats you are known for specifically?
I opened Turtle Alley in 1999 in Gloucester, then opened one in Salem in 2002.  We’re known for our turtles.  Our originals (bacon pecan, cranberry pecan, blueberry cashew, aloha, chipotle, almond ginger) are often imitated, but we are the real deal.

 On behalf of Family Services of the Merrimack Valley and Essex County CASA, thank you so much for pitching in with our First Annual Taste of the Region.  Why CASA?  Had you any previous association with this program?
I’ve not had any previous association, but considering what you do… it’s a no-brainer.  Anything that can help empower and protect those who are less fortunate (and perhaps don’t have a voice that can be heard) is something we gladly support.

Your website advises, “Life is short, sin a little…”  Care to expand on that philosophy?
I believe you go around once.  That being so, I think you should have the treats!  All of them!

Can you speak a little about the importance of giving back to the community?
Whenever we can help out, we try to.  We wouldn’t be in business without the support of our community (ies), and are happy to give back whenever possible.

Tempted to craft some chocolates of your own?  “It really isn’t  overwhelming if you have someone to guide you,” offers Ms. Baker.  Thus, the purpose of her book!  “I totally loved writing the book, just as much as I love making candy myself.”  Pick up a copy of Turtle, Truffle, Bark! at either Turtle Alley location, or at Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Essex County CASA is a program of Family Services of the Merrimack Valley.  We recruit, train and supervise volunteers from the community to advocate for children removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect, in the Lawrence, Newburyport, Salem and soon the Lynn Juvenile Courts.  For additional information on tickets or sponsorship opportunities, please contact CASA Director Sylvia Struss at 978-744-3000, or e-mail Sylvia at [email protected].  Family Services of the Merrimack Valley and CASA are extremely grateful for the community support of friends like Turtle Alley Chocolates.  We could not deliver the programs and services to children and families without their continued generosity.  Please come out and join us on Thursday evening September 27 for A TASTE OF THE REGION!  Purchase tickets here…


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