Our grandmother, Madeline Ickstadt, left school after the eighth grade and joined Heide’s Candy Factory in New York City before the depression, as a part time “chocolate dipper.” Our grandfather, Frank, worked at Bergendahls (maker of fine chocolates, established in 1896) where he was a confectioner, making candy and sweets that were sold and served at the shop. In the end, it was chocolate bunnies that brought them together!
In 1940, Madeline and Frank opened their own candy store on Bergen Avenue, in Jersey City, New Jersey. They named the new store “Lynn Candy Kitchen” after their two children (our mom and uncle) Madeline and Franklin. The candy was made in full view of the customers, who were fascinated to watch the process.
One of the most treasured products they made was during the Easter holiday – adorable bunnies and beautiful Easter eggs. Easter for a confectioner and candy store was a huge time for creativity and business. Grandpa Frank had all kinds of molds for different bunnies, large and small, and eggs too. Each chocolate treat was hand poured and decorated. Decorating them was limited only by his imagination, and he was more than a candy maker, he was a true artist. He and Madeline knew that the candies they made were often the centerpiece of a table or the long awaited surprise in a child’s Easter basket, and took great care and pride in crafting each and every one. Our mom went into the store to help dip the chocolates and tie the colored ribbons around the chocolate bunnies’ necks. She also wrapped the caramels, nougats and the packing boxes that contained the goodies (and managed to eat the candy when no one was looking). Grandpa gave them pocket money for helping in the store - it was a busy and festive time for all!
We still have many of the molds including the bunnies, chocolate bar molds and beautifully detailed eggs. We have tried to make the bunnies at home but it’s much harder than it sounds – trust us! We recommend heading to your local confectioner.
Grandpa Frank and his wife were a strong team. Madeline was a focused, detailed, and no-nonsense business person, instilling that in our mother as well. We are grateful to have some of their immense creativity and artistry passed down through our mother to us, but most of all we are honored to embrace their work ethic and pass it on to our children.
Grandpa Frank and Madeline made a nice living from the store for 11 years. Today we use the molds as decorations and have sweet memories of our mom and family. While we struggled to make a chocolate bunny, my daughter was actually successful at it - so maybe talent skips a generation…
The entire Lime & Leaf family wish you and your family a very Happy Easter!
Lori and Kari
(notice our Grandparent's bunny molds even made the photoshoot!)