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47 This award winning adapta on of the shell-caped favorite blots caramel onto a sheet of chopped pecans. But instead of dropping the en re rep li- an-shaped rendi on into the chocolate by machine, each candy is delicately do ed by hand to form the shell. With its second shop located in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, Stafford's also specializes in wine-based truffles. Much of the confec onary innova on within the company is happening in the heart of coastal wine country. The Santa Barbara-area wineries have partnered with Stafford's to make truffles from their red wines which can be paired and packaged in their tas ng rooms. In Porterville, you can sample the wineries with Stafford's "Taste of the Valley" pack. The box includes an assortment of lav- ender truffles, red wine truffles, Ooey Gooey bits and sea salt caramels. "Using local ingredients is just part of what we do," Ben said. "It also makes our product unique to each area. Quality is always our main con- cern." Chocolate wrapped in the Stafford's name is an ideal Christmas gi for just about anyone. They offer assorted packages for the person who has ev- erything but wants a li le taste of everything. Dark chocolate for the health conscience. Sea salt caramels for the complex. Chocolate caramels for the purist. Custom logos for the corporate. And sculpted shapes for the ar s c. "It's a great place to work because no one leaves in a bad mood," Ben said. "People have a bad day and treat themselves or they find something that makes the perfect gi for someone hard to shop for." And if you don't know what type of chocolate to get someone, why not give them a sampling. For just $75 per year, you can sign up someone for Stafford's Chocolate Club. The annual fee sends four shipments of choco- late each year, all with free shipping, and coupons for 25% off addi onal purchases, with a total value of more than $200. For more informa on on Stafford's Famous Chocolates in Porterville, call the store at 559-784-6640 or visit The Taylor family bought Stafford's in 2012. Ben Taylor, son of owners Rob and Leslee Taylor, runs the Porterville store while his aunt Amy Freedman runs their second store in Los Olivos.

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