This month we shine a spotlight on the Stefanelli family of Romolo Chocolates in Erie, Pennsylvania . The Stefanellis are born confectioners. The family tradition began over 100 years ago with Romolo, who passed his knowledge to his sons, and eventually his grandson, Tony.
At just 8 years old, Tony began his exciting career as a confectioner stirring kettles of caramel at his family’s candy store. After serving in the family business as a chocolatier for 20 years, Tony went on to open Romolo Chocolates in 1994. In true Stefanelli fashion, Tony’s sons, Anthony and Roman, serve as chocolatiers alongside their father.
Romolo Chocolates takes pride in their product using only top-quality ingredients including fresh fruits from local grocers and farms. The finished products are handmade delights like fresh cream truffles, caramels, nougats, and Grandpa Romolo’s Sponge Candy. If you are unfamiliar with sponge candy, it is light, crunchy, aerated toffee covered in chocolate. The style of sponge candy was developed by, you guessed it, Romolo Stefanelli.
In 2003, Tony expanded, adding Romolo Cocoa Café, where Tony’s wife, Jennie, is the pastry chef. If the chocolates weren’t enough reason to make the trip, Jennie uses ingredients like fresh roasted nuts and fresh butter to make from-scratch favorites like Romolo Tiramisu, cannoli, holiday fig cookies, and caramel pecan shortbread. The delicious baked goods aren’t the only thing that make the café unique. The theater-style seating allows visitors to enjoy their specialty coffees and pastries while they watch the pros hard at work making chocolates, cakes, and cookies.
Romolo is all about fun and memorable experiences. If you have a special occasion to celebrate, check out Sugar, Romolo’s event space. Being surrounded by cotton candy clouds, giant gummy bears, and lollipops is sure to put every guest in party mode!
In 2004, Tony was only one of 26 Master Confectioners in the United States. That expert skill and dedication has earned Romolo Chocolates a sterling reputation as a confectionery leader. Annually, Romolo Chocolates serves up an astonishing 465,700 boxes of confections, 27,600 pastries, and 105,500 scoops of ice cream. It’s no wonder their offerings have been voted the area’s best chocolate and dessert, both regionally and locally for many years. Grandpa Romolo would be proud.