Chukar Cherries

By Anthony Todd

Chuck it. Any notion, that is, that chocolate-covered cherries add up to a mound of artificially colored, saccharine-filled glop from a plastic box. If that’s your idea, you’ve never been within grabbing range of a Chukar cherry. Chukar’s confections not only prove that chocolate-covered cherries are for grown-ups, but they also repeal any law of physics that insists the filling must drip down your shirt. Made with local fruits gathered in the Pacific Northwest and free of preservatives, sulfites, and other yucky chemicals, Chukar’s Dark Chocolate Cabernet Cheeries and Dark Chocolate Pinot Noirs combine the flavors of rich, bitter-dark chocolate, sweet Bing cherries, and all-natural citrus flavoring in a confection perfect for snack trays and cocktail parties. Chukar also sells nuts, and its chocolate-covered vanilla almonds are so smooth, it’s feels like your tongue is skating on marzipan. If you’re looking for a slightly healthier treat, try dried Bing or Rainier cheeries, made without sugar. Mix them into salads and desserts, or just pour them into your mouth—but in a grown-up way.

the cherry orchard—and then some

After buying an orchard, Chukar founder Pam Montgomery realized that sales didn’t use up all the fresh cherries, and bunches of them were drying on the branches. On a whim, she started eating them from the trees, and a business was born. But things didn’t stop there, as these recipes—for Cherry Merry cookies, cherry Dijon honey dressing, and Thai shrimp noodles with tart cherries—demonstrate.