Mar 15

Celtic Themes – A Great Place for St. Patrick’s Day Food and Gifts

Celtic Themes in the heart of Pompton Lakes, New Jersey has everything a North Jersey Foodie needs to celebrate St. Patrick’s day. It is actually three stores in one that carries items from Ireland, Scotland, and Nova Scotia. The owner is Gerry Rooney, who was born and raised in Scotland. He has successfully run Celtic Themes for 15 years with 6 of those years being in his current location. He imports all of his Irish specialty food from Dublin weekly. In the large refrigerator next to the front door you will find Irish sausage, sausage rolls, Irish bacon, meat pies, black and white pudding, and bridies. There is also a large selection of Barry’s Tea, scones, marmalade, HP sauces, drinks, and snacks.

The second specialty store is filled with gifts, jewelry, and apparel from Ireland and Scotland. There is a huge selection packed into this store. They carry a wide variety of women’s, men’s, and children’s jewelry that includes brooches, engagement rings, claddagh rings, and celtic for children. There are hand knit scarves, hats, and even hand made wedding gowns. There are nameless crystal, lenox, and pewter wares.

The third section of this store are kilts, bag pipes and other musical needs. They both sell and rent worldwide. If you do not find what you are looking for in the store Gerry will surely search it out for you.

This store is amazing! There are literally thousands of treasures tucked away in this store for every occasion. It is definitely worth the trip.

Celtic Themes
128 Wanaque Ave
Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442

Feb 29

Sugar and Plumm, Purveyors of Yumm!!

Sugar and Plumm, Purveyors of Yumm is a lovely retail shop, bakery and eatery that recently opened in The Bergen Town Center in Paramus. When you approach Sugar and Plumm you are mesmerized by the whimsical window displays. They are eye catching and beautiful with candy delights and the memory of childhood whimsy.

The store is modern and inviting. When you enter through the retail portion there is a huge candy bar where you can mix and match your favorites, a large M&M dispensary on one wall, a great selection on nostalgic candy. There are also plush animals, stationary, games, books, and mugs to name a few of the many items.

The specialty bakery is filled with home made confections, cakes, and candy from their own kitchen in Moonachie. Some of the gourmet delights include fudge, bite size carrot cakes, tarts, cake pops, and chocolate bark. There is a lot of detail put into the artisan goods. They will also make custom cakes for all occasions.

The restaurant portion of the store serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are chefs making homemade crepes before your eyes. The smell and ingredients makes it hard to order anything else. The menu has a variety of smoothies, crepes, waffles, soups, salads, sandwiches, and dinner entrees. The menu is just the right size.

On our visit we ordered the banana chocolate crepe with fresh strawberries. The presentation was good, the homemade crepe was flavorful and the melted chocolate was perfect. We also had the 7-grain chicken sandwich, which had avocado, tomato, pea shoots, and boursin spread. The ingredients were fresh and homemade bread was good with a hard crust, if you like that. We also ordered a mango smoothie, which had good mango flavor. It was very thick and came with a nostalgic paper straw that got soft within ten minutes and made it difficult to drink. (Ask for a plastic one!)

It was difficult to choose which gourmet dessert to try so we split the chocolate caramel tart. It had a wonderful mousse texture and chocolate flavor. However, I did not taste any caramel.

Overall it was a good experience with some fine specialty foods. The service was attentive and accommodating. This is a treat for North Jersey Foodies to visit with or without children. Please note though the only allergy warning on their website states, “Our products are packed and made in a kitchen where dairy, soy, peanuts, and other nut products are used.” In reality I was told by the manager all of their gourmet-baked goods are made with almond flour.
Sugar and Plumm
620 Bergen Town Center
Paramus, New Jersey

Feb 01


When you walk into Nagel’s Candy Barn in Wayne, New Jersey the overwhelming aroma makes you feel as if you have died and gone to chocolate heaven. Then you walk through the second set of doors and know you have.

This is one of the largest home made chocolate shops in New Jersey, both by volume of specialty chocolate and square footage. There is not one inch of the store that has wasted space with the 1,000’s of assorted chocolates. At any time you can find a huge selection of truffles, peanut butter bark, caramel stick covered chocolate, and chocolate covered pretzels and all home made in the back kitchen. I highly recommend the chocolate covered peanut butter cups. They are worth every penny with the smoothest chocolate you can find covering an even smoother creamy peanut butter. You want to eat it as slowly as you can to savor the taste.

Holidays are a special place at Nagel’s whether it is Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, or Christmas. You can see all of the work that goes into lovingly making these specialty chocolates and their displays.

My most recent visit was for Valentine’s Day. There is a range of enormous to small heart containers that you can fill yourself. The seasonal chocolates include solid hearts, flowers, love notes, and chocolate covered strawberries. The store is decorated with such care with ribbons, hearts, and bows for Valentine’s Day. One can see all the hours of labor and love put into Nagel’s.

Nagel’s is truly a landmark of North Jersey. They have been doing business for over 40 decades. Those that have moved out of state and come back often make a special trip to Nagel’s. In their 70’s, Mrs. Nagel runs the Wayne location and Mr. Nagel runs the Randolph location. They have no website, take cash only, and are closed July and most of August. If you love chocolate and home made foods this is a place to visit.

Locations: 1512 Rt 23, Wayne NJ 07470, 973-694-4657
358 Rt 10, Randolph, NJ 07869, 973-361-1688

Jan 27

Top 5 Chocolate Trends of 2012

Top Five Trends in Chocolate for 2012

There really is no bad or out of season chocolates. We all love those little bite size morsels wrapped in foil. However, chocolatiers are now catering to adult palates. They are true artisans of gourmet chocolate that are developing visual and sensual delights.

The top trends of 2012 are:

1. Dark chocolate combined with super fruits: Dark chocolate in itself has been proven to be “healthy”. With its antioxidants it is said to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and help keep the cardiovascular system running properly. To make it even more desirable to health conscious consumers it is being combined with super fruits that also contain these antioxidants.

2. Artisan Chocolates: These chocolates are true works of art. Homemade treasures. They are not the chocolate that is poured into a heart mold and popped out. The cocoa is selected for aroma and texture. It is quality versus quantity. The chocolates are hand decorated or filled with high quality ingredients.

3. Chocolate covered tropical fruit: Strawberries are not the only fruit for dipping anymore. These gourmet chocolates bring you to the islands. They are sweet and tangy. Varieties include coconut, orange, passion fruit, and guava. You can hear the ocean when you bite into them.

4. Salt in Chocolate: Sea Salt from around the world has become a specialty food. Gourmet chocolate bars, truffles, wafers are all being sprinkled with finishing salts. The flavor is unique that satisfies both the sweet and salty craving.

5. Spicy: Hot! Hot! Hot! Chocolates are combing spicy jalapenos, chili powder, and smoky chipotles to name a few. As you smell the aroma and chew into the creamy chocolate the spice is the last to come. It is an eye opening surprise.

In today’s recession more and more people are buying quality chocolates. It is a bite size treat that makes them feel good when they eat it. Plus, it’s good for you!

Jan 25

Jersey Devil Chocolates

The Jersey Devil Chocolate is a dark chocolate bar with chipotle spice and cranberries.  It was named after the Jersey Devil who has been part of New Jersey folklore for over 250 years and some say still lurks in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

When coming up with the idea of Jersey Devil Chocolates the Waksman Family could not have done a better job, dark chocolates, super fruits, and spice. This specialty chocolate bar combines them all nicely.  New Jersey is the third largest producer of cranberries and combing that with the spicy devil is a great tribute to the state.

When you open the wrapper you see a beautiful dark chocolate bar.  When you break off a piece you can see pink and red cranberries popping out at you. Don’t let the devil and flames on the packaging fool you.  The spice is not overpowering or burning.  When you first taste the chocolate it is the sweetness of the cranberries that sits on your tongue.  A moment later you say “OH!  There’s the devil spice!”  The combination with the smooth dark chocolate is very unique.

This specialty chocolate bar is a find for North Jersey Foodies.  Another thing we love is that it is a truly a North Jersey family business.  The Waksman family came up with the idea together over dinner, blended and sampled together, and their fourteen year old son drew the picture of the devil for the packaging.


You can check out more on their website, Facebook page,, Amazon Jersey Devil Chocolates – Dark Chocolate, Chili and Cranberries – Chocolate Bar, Find the Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift at

If you have any other great North Jersey Foodie finds please post a reply for all of us to discover!

Visit Jersey Devil Website

Jan 09

Chocolate Etc. Wycoff NJ

Chocolate Etc is a just what you would think by its name. A Chocolate shop in the heart of Wycoff. They specialize in gift baskets for all occasions. When I visited the store in early January they were transitioning from Christmas and Hanukah to Valentines Day. The store did have a full display case of chocolate candies. Most of these bite size chocolate morsels were home made. However, they do not make any of the truffles or the sugar free candies. The chocolate candy I purchased was fresh. I tested the white chocolate coconut, my favorite, which was very moist and had great coconut flavor. The chocolate chunks were topped with M&Ms and very thick bite of chocolate. The caramel covered chocolate was average. I personally like a more chewy gooey caramel. The store does have a great selection of molds, decorations, and an M&M bar. You can order candy bars with wrappers for any occasion along with any gift basket you can imagine. They also offer birthday parties in their kitchen with several different themes for your tiny chocolatier.  If you are in the area or need a chocolate basket they are worth a stop.