The Sweets Barn shows us the process of creating a favorite
If Candyland were a real place, The Sweets Barn in Lolo would be it. It calls to us from childhood’s past, beckoning us to step into its dreamy aroma of chocolates and teas and old-fashioned candies. And with our arrival, we’re introduced to not one, but both, of its owners—Bonnie and Dave Aicher, along with Huck L. Berry, the beloved buffalo statue that sits just outside the entrance.
The barn has that necessary nostalgic feel—the playful lure of its exterior, the delicately designed truffles, buttery fudge, rows of candies from yesteryear waiting to be slipped into bulk bags, and dozens upon dozens of house-made creations beyond a glass case. Surely, there are many favorites but one in particular sets itself apart from the rest: huckleberry bark.
Heather McDonald, native Montanan and chocolatier at The Sweets Barn, knows that huckleberries play a vital role in our region, and she’s happy to feature them by way of an Aicher family favorite recipe—one that’s been passed down and now, luckily, is shared beyond the bonds of family.
The huckleberry bark base is simple, high-quality white chocolate that is melted down on a double boiler. While the chocolate is melting, frozen huckleberries are thawed out and separated from their juices. The just-picked huckleberries are brought into The Sweets Barn each summer and frozen to preserve their freshness all year round.
Once the chocolate has melted down, real baking flavorings are added into the chocolate mix and stirred well to combine. At this point, it is time to add the main ingredient—huckleberries!—which get stirred into the melted chocolate mixture. Once integrated, the mixture is poured onto lined baking sheets and spread out evenly.
The reserved huckleberry juices are then drizzled over the smoothed chocolate and swirled into the blanket of white to create the beautiful, purple swirled designs that mark this signature treat. Once the chocolate has completely cooled and hardened, Heather then breaks up the chocolate into pieces, snapping off chunks rather than cutting them to achieve that bark-like texture.
The finished product is a delicious treat that has the perfect balance of flavor and sweetness and, best of all, it tastes like home.