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Chocolatier mixing it up with ice cream

Gertrude Hawk in Wyoming Valley Mall is among three stores testing Smidgen Swirls.

Gertrude Hawk store manager John Kennedy mixes caramel Smidgens with vanilla ice cream to create Smidgen Swirl.

AIMEE DILGER/THE TIMES LEADER

WILKES-BARRE TWP. – For anyone who has ever tried a Gertrude Hawk Smidgen, hold onto your hats – Smidgen Swirls are in the area.

This new concoction, a blend of Smidgens and vanilla ice cream, is a test product at three Gertrude Hawk Chocolates locations, including the store inside the Wyoming Valley Mall.

“So far it is showing a lot of good promise in the stores we are testing it in and the consumers really like it,” said Gertrude Hawk spokeswoman Lisa Phillips.

For $3.99, any flavor of Smidgens can be selected for the Smidgen Swirl. Three to four of the chocolate candies are put onto a cold slab and mixed into the ice cream, using two spatulas. Glazed nuts and almond butter crunch may be added instead of the Smidgens, as well as any other item from the bulk candy case.

Consumers then have their choice of hardened Gertrude Hawk milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or peanut butter topping. Peanuts, whipped cream, and a cherry are also available. Additional candy and toppings for the Smidgen Swirl can be purchased at the per-pound price of that particular item. The one-size only product is served in a 10-ounce cup.

The inspiration for Smidgen Swirls came from places like Coldstone Creamery, which allows customers to create their own ice cream treat by choosing toppings and mixing them into the ice cream flavor of their choice. So far, the most popular Smidgen flavor picked by patrons is milk chocolate peanut butter, followed by dark chocolate raspberry.

“Right now, we like the aspect of making it to order,” Phillips said. “Really, creating your own is the whole driving point of this product.”

The other two Gertrude Hawk locations selected for the test product are in the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall and the Oakdale Mall in Binghamton, N.Y.

Phillips said the Wyoming Valley Mall was chosen because it is a higher-traffic location, has a younger audience base, and has more physical space than other stores. The test product came out this month and will be available for six to eight weeks.

The Dunmore-based candy company decided to try marketing Smidgen Swirls now because it is summer and time for back-to-school shoppers to crowd the mall. If the product does well, Phillips said it likely will be here to stay and will roll out into all Gertrude Hawk stores.

John Kennedy, manager of the Wyoming Valley Mall store, said a lot of people do not know about the product because it is so new. Nevertheless, Smidgen Swirls are selling well. Kennedy expects sales of the test product to double or triple over the next few weeks.

“Once you taste it you really can’t stay away from it,” Kennedy said. “It’s great ice cream, our Smidgens can’t be beat, and put together it’s a great combination.”

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