Boutique chocolates a sweet new attraction at Mary Rose Collection

From sweet things sweet things come, and from the Mary Rose Collection come fine Italian chocolates, courtesy of Mary Rose Nichols, left, and Jenny Eklund. The blue-shirt-and-red-tie boxes at bottom are one-pound assortments perfect for a sweet-toothed father on Father's Day.

For most of a decade, the Mary Rose Collection at 1215 Warford St. in downtown Perry has been known as a feast for the senses, but a new pleasure has now been added to those of eye and ear: the tongue-tempting taste of hand-dipped chocolate.

For several weeks, Mary Rose has offered Lagomarcino’s Chocolates, lovingly produced by third- and fourth-generation family members in their 108-year-old business. They have stores in Davenport and Moline, Ill.

Mary Rose’s fellow postal lady, Jenny Eklund, discovered the high-end confections in her travels and has been making a weekly run to fetch a fresh batch of the top-drawer sweets, which are made today just as they were made in the beginning by Angelo Lagomarcino, an immigrant to the U.S. from Lombardy.

The candy case at Mary Rose’s has three shelves filled with the hand-made chocolates, and there is room on top for specialty chocolate boxes, such as the lady bug box, with wings that spread to reveal her sweet insides, and the bonnet box, which separates, crown from brim, with similar effect.

Lagomarcino'sThese are not your Russell Stover chocolates. Lagomarcino’s candies are to Russell Stover what Harrods is to Wal-Mart. Sadly, many of us can only afford to buy at Wal-Mart and of those, maybe the luckiest of us have never even heard of Harrods or suspected that anything could be better than Wal-Mart.

It is an old dilemma. How are you going to keep them on the farm once they have seen Perry? And how are you going to keep them buying Brach’s once they have tasted Lagomarcino’s?

For the happy few, the difference is worth the price. As a wise woman once said, “Life isn’t a matter of milestones but of moments,” and edible moments are available now at the Mary Rose Collection. Mary has even cleared a bit of space before the case to allow browsers to more easily bend and peer at the good things behind the glass without letting their posteriors pose undue risk to Mary’s arts-and-crafts inventory, which please as much as ever.

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Beauties for the eye and ear are now joined by tasty arts at the Mary Rose Collection with the introduction of Lagomarcino's Chocolates.
Beauties for the eye and ear are now joined by tasty arts at the Mary Rose Collection with the introduction of Lagomarcino’s Chocolates.


  1. Most things that are really nice are worth an extra dollar. Most stuff we’re expected to settle for isn’t worth the first dollar.


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