Just Around the Corner: Boehm’s Candies and Chocolates

Built in 1956, the building is the first Alpine chalet built in the Northwest. The University of Washington’s architecture school recognizes it as an authentic Alpine chalet.

I’ve been passing by Boehm’s Candies for decades whenever traveling to Eastern Washington. It’s tucked away along Interstate 90 in Issaquah, and if you blink, you’d miss it.

On Saturday, we decided to stop and look inside the old chalet.

A Boehm’s employee offering candy samples.

I’m not an expert on what to look for in good chocolate. There’s only two criteria I use: Is the chocolate fresh or stale? And does the goodness of the taste remain in your head long after you’ve consumed the candy?

A box of salted caramel chocolates

I tasted a sample of Boehm’s strawberry chocolate; it was soft and smooth. I knew instantly that it was fresh. Logically, it was just made to share immediately with the public.

The second test was also easy. As I had walked around the store, all I could think about was how good the sample was and I’d sure like more. My weakness relented, and we ended up getting a bag and two boxes.

Inside the Alpine chalet.

As I consume the morsels right now, here’s some history:

Founder Julius Boehm was born in Austria in 1897, lived for a while in Switzerland, and by 1941 emigrated to America.

In 1942, he and friend George Tedlock started their first candy shop in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood.

In 1956, they added a new site in Issaquah, where they had an Edelweiss Chalet built to harken to the beautiful Alpine homeland of Julius. As you walk around the store, you’ll see mementos of the old Swiss life: Bronze cowbells and a huge alphorn adorn the ceiling.

The entrance of the candy store honors its founders.

Julius was active in the community, teaching swimming and skiing as well as donating to organizations. In between running the business and taking care of his family and indulging in sports, he managed to climb Mount Rainier three times.

After he passed in 1981, fellow Austrian and head candy maker Bernard Garbusjuk continued his legacy.

Bernard is now preparing to hand the business to his children, Tyson and Narissa.

Boehm’s offers 100 different confections. Visitors may also take tours of the chalet grounds and make their own candies in classes.

It was a good trip to finally visit this place. As they say, it’s better to be choco-late than never.

It’s located at 255 N.E. Gilman Blvd., Issaquah, WA 98027

You can visit the website here

— Story and photos by David Carlos

Mountlake Terrace resident David Carlos often submits photos and videos profiling interesting places nearby.

 

12 Replies to “Just Around the Corner: Boehm’s Candies and Chocolates”

    1. The title is just a figure of speech – some places featured are closer than others

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  1. That’s neat thanks for sharing this. My parents first house was next to the Ravenna store. My Dad has fun stories and a few cool pictures of Julius. We sure enjoyed stopping by there as kids.

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  2. There’s a store on Bothell Way NE that looks like that

    Was that one of their stores? Or does that building have a different history – if so, what?

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    1. That building was formally the Schnitzelbank Restaurant (until around 15-20 years ago). It was refurbished and remodeled from an American diner to an Alpine/European chalet. Yes, a lot of the woodwork was designed or made by Walter Schefer, a Swiss craftsman who worked on both the Schnitzelbank and Boehm’s. The Schnitzelbank building is still owned by the McKissen family but is now occupied by some offices and retail stores.

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  3. I’ve been wondering if Boehm’s was still there. Shortly after they opened in ‘56, my family would stop on the way up to Snoqualmie Pass to go skiing. At that time it was clearly visible just off Highway 90.. My dad first learned of it when traveling east of the mountains for business (we’d moved to Shorewood on Mercer Island that summer from California). Being a big lover of chocolate, a trait he passed down to his three daughters, he was eager to take us there the first time. We all loved the pecan turtles which I believe were the first I’d ever seen or eaten. Another favorite, and again new to me, was the marzipan in dark chocolate. I don’t think there was anything we tried that we didn’t like! Other favorites were the chocolate caramels and mom and I loved anything with almonds. It was a splurge for our family but we never left without a few bags to satisfy our different desires.

    In the summertime during the late 50s, early 60s, we’d sometimes go to Issaquah to watch the parachuters at the small airport (now long gone) on the north side of Highway 90. Boehm’s was just a short distance off the next exit east of the airport. So, of course, we always made a trip to Boehm’s first and then circled back to the airport so we could enjoy our chocolate while watching the daring parachuters.

    I’d been back there a few times over the years after it got hidden behind the newer I-90. While living and working in Seattle, I discovered they had a small store just off the I-5 exit to 65th near Greenlake which was impossible to ignore. Then, sadly it was replaced by a computer repair shop. So glad to know they’re still there in Issaquah. Looks like I’ll be making a special trip soon. Thanks for the great article!

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  4. Time honored recipes handed down through the generations. What a great history. Not only are they the nicest people you will ever meet, their candy is superb.

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  5. Issaquah isn’t that far at all. Take a cooler and get your candy and put candy and enjoy the ride up the hill for the day. Then come home and take a shower and EAT your candy!! haha. I saw this yesterday and was oh my that looks so good. I will be visiting this spot very soon this summer and again for Christmas Gifts.

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  6. If you get the chance to take the candy making class, do it. You get an interesting history lesson, sample some delicious chocolate and just basically have a fantastic time.

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  7. We found a store in Poulsbo, WA, too, just 2-3 years ago. Pretty sure it’s still there. My parents took us to the Issaquah store every weekend. The pecan roll is to die for. Us kids always had to have Seafoam.

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  8. Julius skied at Ski Acres. He would bring us candy and we would give him tickets. He was a friend of my father in laws ( owner Reidar, known as Ray) who would take time off and they would ski for hours. I would eat chocolates at my office desk! Received my favorites for Mothers Day and must confess it is just too convenient for me to buy a bag often!

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