Plus Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars & Other Great Confections
CAPSULE SUMMARY: Peanut butter lovers who haven’t yet discovered Jer’s are in for a treat. Peanut butter centers covered in dark, milk or white chocolate are available in four varieties: peanut butter mixed with rice crisps, caramel, pretzels, or toffee. You can customize boxes to get the varieties you like. The products are certified kosher by OU. This is Page 1 of a two-page review. Click on the black link to visit Page 2.
When it comes to food, there are a few things we’re drawn to at THE NIBBLE™. First and foremost, of course, is great taste; if that’s not part of the equation, we’re not interested. But we also care about the details. We love, for example, to find products that are all-natural. If they’re kosher-certified as well, even better. And we have a particular soft spot for small-scale artisans, especially if they have a compelling back story.
Often we’ll find products with two or three of these characteristics. With Jer’s Handmade Chocolates, though, we hit the jackpot: delicious, all-natural, kosher-certified chocolate-covered peanut butter balls created by Jer himself, a successful businessman turned peanut-butter-ball-maker.
Though the company has only been around since 2002, the seed for Jer’s Handmade Chocolates was planted about 15 years before that. Jerry Swain was home from college for Thanksgiving and, needing a break from studying, decided to experiment with peanut butter balls in his parents’ kitchen. His creations were a hit with his family, so when break was over, he took them back to his dormitory, where they were, of course, quickly devoured. For the rest of his college career he made them every year at finals time, and for nine years after he graduated he hosted a party that became known as “Jer’s Ball” thanks to the star confections. The party was so successful that after the first couple of years, Swain decided to turn it into a fund-raiser for local food banks.
Still, despite their popularity, it didn’t occur to Jerry in those days to turn his peanut butter balls into a business. Instead he went the traditional route, working first in corporate America, and later as an independent consultant. He never stopped making the balls, though, for friends and fund-raisers alike, and finally one day it dawned on him that he could turn his favorite hobby into a full-time business.
The rest, as they say, is history. Jer’s Handmade Chocolates was born, and Jerry and his crew have been making the irresistible peanut butter balls ever since. And while the company has outgrown his parents’ kitchen, not much has changed about the balls themselves—now known as the Original IncrediBall. They are entirely handmade, in small batches to ensure freshness and quality. They are also, as we mentioned, all-natural, even the peanut butter—a refreshing change from other peanut butter candies that use homogenized or stabilized peanut butter.
Since the Original IncrediBall, Jerry has developed the line in even more wonderful ways.