Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Chocolates at Penny Chocolates in Olney

If you want some exquisite chocolates and a back-roads ride, shoot down Rte 108 to Olney and Penny's Chocolates & Gelato.

Penny's is a little shop on Georgia Avenue in Olney. I wanted to love it. I wanted the gelato to be worth driving all the way from Howard County. But you can get ice cream for a summer night in many places. (You can even get Yogiberry yogurt in Olney.) The draw at Penny's are small chocolates -- different types of chocolate wrapped around caramels, nuts or flavorings of lemon, tea and similar exotics.

The chocolates are expensive. Like $1 each or more, but you pay a special price to get this kind of special chocolate. We split every chocolate because every flavor sounded inspired. They're a treat if you're driving through Olney, and they'd also make a classy gift. This would be a "must visit" if it were in Columbia, but I can't say it's worth the round-trip drive just for gelato. I love shops like Capogiro Gelato in Philadelphia where they serve a serious treat with a sense of fun. Penny's is just serious. Employees in little chef outfits. Nobody smiling. It's impressive chocolate, but you can tell they're impressed with themselves.

(Update: Oh, dear! The owner of Penny's Cheryl Schneider wrote a very nice comment below. She explains a bit about why those chocolates are so delicious and why they cost a little extra. I editted my post to be clear that I thought the chocolates are worth the price -- just didn't necessarily recommend a special trip from Howard County. I always hestitate about criticizing people who are trying to serve good food because I don't visit multiple times or have editors to catch inadvertent smackdowns in the text. Also, I have absolutely ridiculous standards for gelato because I have been infected by Capogiro. So I'm glad that Cheryl responded with a little humor and a description of her place.)

Penny's Chocolates & Gelato
16834 Georgia Avenue
Olney, MD 20832
(301) 774-9022

NEAR: This is just south of Rte 108 on Georgia Avenue. Drive south of Rte 108 from Clarksville, and you'll pass into Montgomery County. Drive the speed limit. There is a radar camera set up south of the county line, and Mrs. HowChow paid the price for zipping home too rapidly. When you get into Olney, turn left on Georgia Avenue and look for Penny's and Roots on the right.

Penny's Chocolates & Gelato on Urbanspoon


Penny Chocolates said...

Gosh, I sure hope we don't take ourselves too seriously! After all, our little shop offers desserts and is named after the family dog!

If we look a little different from other places, it's because we try to be different. You're absolutely right that you can get ice cream and yogurt in a lot of places. We offer artisan gelato, which means it's made fresh from scratch, in the true Italian tradition, using no powdered bases, artificial colors, preservatives, or additives. As far as we are aware, we are the only business currently licensed in Maryland to make gelato this way.

Likewise, our chocolate truffles are all hand-made (not mass-produced) again without preservatives or artificial ingredients. Although the cost of chocolate has spiked in recent months, we have done our best to keep our prices as low as possible, and we believe we are competitive with other premium chocolatiers. You can always buy packaged chocolates at the grocery store for less, if that is what you want. We believe quality chocolates are worth a little more.

One thing that does bother me is that you were not greeted with a smile when you came in. That is not acceptable, and I offer my sincere apology. Everyone should receive a smile when they come in and, hopefully, will leave with one.

Best regards,

Cheryl Schneider (Owner and Pastry Chef)

HowChow said...

Please check out the "update" in the post. I revised after reading Cheryl's comment.

betsy said...

Excellent gelato (also a long way from Howard County) - Pitango Gelato in Fells Point. Makes me never want to eat mass-produced ice cream again.

Jim said...

According to their website, Penny has packed up and moved to Fairfax.