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Friday, October 22, 2010

The Sweetest Moose

One way you can be sure to see a moose on your trip to Maine is tolenny moose (5) visit Lenny. But, can’t pet or take him home. Lenny is a real sweetheart, or more correctly a really sweet moose. He can’t help it, cause it’s in his makeup – all 1,700 pounds of milk chocolate. He’s a big fellow too at 8 feet tall and measuring over 9 feet from front to back.

lenny moose (3)

And when going to Scarborough (not the fair) but the town in Maine, a visit to see Lenny is well worth the trip. You can find Lenny hanging out at Len Libby Candies, a store that sells handcrafted chocolate and ice cream, on Route 1in Scarborough.

It’s the only home Lenny’s known since being created in 4 weeks back in 1997. His first public appearance was on July 1 of that year. He hangs out in one sweet place – the store’s ice cream parlor. His surroundings include a mural of a log cabin and pine trees and he  stands in a pond of white chocolate tinted blue. Not a bad way to spend one’s days.

Lenny’s not alone either – keeping him company, besides store visitors, are Libby, a 380 lb black bear of solid dark chocolate, and her cubs, Cocoa and Chip, each weighing in at 80 lbs of solid dark chocolate.

lenny moose (1)

Lenny’s Start

Maureen Hemond, co-owner of Len Libby, with her husband Fern, came up with the idea of a chocolate moose. Zdeno Mayercak, a sculptor from the Maine College of Art had traveled to Freeport to study the stuffed moose on display in the lobby of L. L. Bean.

Mayercak created Lenny with tools normally used on wood and clay – hammers, chisel, hatchet. Lenny has a metal frame; his dimensions ruled out the use of a mold. Chocolate blocks each weighing 10 pounds were put on the frame. The jagged wire was worked into the chocolate to give it a finished look.

Lenny is solid chocolate. The mortar used to hold the blocks together was melted chocolate. More chocolate was molded inside of the frame. Chocolatier Fern Hemond tempered the chocolate to develop the shiny coat of the moose and instructed Mayercak and his assistants on its application.

lenny moose (4)Lenny maintains his dark good looks with the help of professionals  who paint brush his coat with confectionary glaze to lock in the oils from the chocolate, preventing evaporation and melting. The temperature stays under 68 degrees because a moose meltdown would not be a pretty sight. Lenny’s “birth” is documented in a video that loops endlessly on a TV monitor near his rustic setting. Here’s where you can see an online video about how Lenny was made.

Len Libby Candies

There’s no longer a Len Libby behind the company, but the tradition of hand making sweet confections continues with owners Fernand and Maureen Hemond.

The confectionary opened for business in 1926. Owner Len Libby had apprenticed with several candy-makers, and later worked as master candy-maker in the Portland area. After retiring, he opened a shop near Higgins Beach in Scarborough. At a time when much of the world's goods were handmade, the art of candy-making was enjoyed by everyone and Libby's candy selections became widely popular.

In 1949, Libby sold his business to Hemond who had begun his apprenticeship in the Higgins Beach shop while still in college. Hemond has continued with the shop's original candy-making recipes. The company has only the single Scarborough location and remains a family owned and operated business.

lenny moose (4)

You can’t pet or take him home, but the store sells miniature versions of Lenny and other handmade chocolates and candies. And, if you can’t visit in person, there’s always mail order.

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10 comments:

Country Mouse Studio said...

oh wow, can I get him delivered to my house -yum

Elaine said...

Lennie is fantastic! I sure hope they don't have a power outage on a very hot summer day. It would not be a pretty sight!

Lois Evensen said...

I bet they could make a giant Easter Bunny (on steroids!) there, too! I would have a hard time in that store. I'm a chocoholic and am proud of it! I'd never come out of the store. ;)

Anvilcloud said...

I'm so hungry, I bet you know what I could eat.

A moose.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Country Mouse - Lenny is available in small er sizes which would be easier to mail to your house.

Elaine, hmmm never thought of that - hope the candy store has a back-up generator cause Lenny is a cool moose!

Lois, that would be some bunny! We are chocolate lovers too, especially dark chocolate, so Lenny doesn't have a big sppeal but we did buy a small piece of dark chocolate cause you can't leave a candy store empty-handed.

AC, good pun!

AC

Out on the prairie said...

You have brought the chocoholics out in all of us. MMMMMM

grammie g said...

Hi Folks... Now that is a place I have heard of but never been!!
That is amazing how the moose and bears and that set up was made!!
I will not go there with my friend,she has M&M's and chocolate at here bedside at all times and wonders why she can't sleep!! lol : }

Patty said...

They better watch out. I heard about an army of ants gathering in that area. It's not going to be pretty.

Montanagirl said...

Yes, Lenny is quite fabulous. And I agree with Elaine - hope there's no power outages on a hot summer day! Great post and nice photos.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi Out on the Prairie, afraid I have brought out all those chocolate fans - but Lenny is safe cause I prefer dark chocolate, so the bears better watch out!

Grammie G - this trip shouldn't be too far for you if you ever get in a travelling mood and then you can reward yourself with some sweet treats!

Patty, those ants would feast for a long time!

Thanks Mona - Elains did have a very good point and so did Patty :-)

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