Is there anything better than the decadent combo of chocolate, caramel, and pecans? No. No, there is not. Local candy artist Lisa Dugger and her son Cody know this firsthand because they’re having trouble keeping their whimsical Turtlebellies in stock. ($23.99 – $29.99) “It’s a tradition in our house that when someone finds this combination, they would buy it and bring it home,” she says. “I come from a family of artists and my son and I decided it would be wonderful and whimsical to have chocolate critters with their little bellies full of toasted pecans and caramel. Hence, the idea began to blossom.”
It took some trial and error (and a 3D printer) to create the molds, but now Turtlebellies are being shipped around the country. “They are all hand-crafted and each batch takes about two days to complete—so these are a labor of love,” she says. In case you were wondering, Dugger sources everything locally. “The smoothest caramel and best-tasting chocolate—both come from northern Missouri. Then came determining which pecans to use,” she says. “There is a pecan farm in Paola, Kansas, and they have the best-tasting pecans. Wow, did I learn a lot about how many different types of pecans there are and how different they taste.”
After they test-marketed them, they only found one pesky problem. People kept saying they were too cute to eat. (Happens.)
Right now, Dugger and Cody are selling her wares at several stores in Lawrence and at Made In KC stores starting later this month. Better order a double batch, says Dugger. “Customer response has been overwhelmingly positive with many repeat orders.”
Order them with milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and/or nutless. Up next just in time for the holidays? Frogbellies, Piggiebellies, and Bunnybellies. You heard it here first.