Worlds largest chocolate peanut butter cup? Bennington may have the recordPatrick McArdle / Staff Photo
Nick Monte, right, owner of the Village Chocolate Shoppe, cuts up pieces of what might be the world’s largest peanut butter cup Oct. 4 outside his store on Main Street in Bennington. The candy was almost 5 feet in diameter, weighed just under 230 pounds and sold out in less than 24 hours.
BENNINGTON — A peanut butter cup weighing almost 230 pounds and measuring almost 5 feet in diameter that may have set a world’s record is attracting attention to the Village Chocolate Shoppe in Bennington and its effort raise money to fight domestic violence.
Nick Monte, owner of the chocolate shop, set out earlier this month to make the world’s largest peanut butter cup as part of Bennington’s First Friday program. Monte said he had only planned to have a fun event Oct. 4 that would benefit the Project Against Violent Encounters, or PAVE, in Bennington.
However, cameras from WCAX-TV filmed the preparation of the peanut butter cup and now the story has spread to a number of websites and television stations.
The chocolate shop has received phone calls over the last week from places like Cleveland, New Jersey and Maryland from people who wanted to buy a piece of what might be a record-setter. The pieces of the peanut butter cup that were sold as a fundraiser for PAVE were all gone by Oct. 5.
Monte said family events are a summer tradition at the Village Chocolate Shoppe. In 2010, the shop married Benny, an 88-pound chocolate moose, and his girlfriend, Molly, made of 72 pounds of chocolate.
The store already sells its own chocolate peanut butter cups so Monte began to wonder whether they might be able to set a record. Doing his own research, Monte said the current record holder for largest peanut butter cup is Reese’s, which sells a 5-pound candy.
To prepare for his attempt at the Guinness World Record, Monte custom-made a peanut butter cup mold and invited some town officials, Select Board members Sharyn Brush and John McFadden, and Rep. Mary Morrissey, R-Bennington, to verify the measurements.
Guinness officials told Monte it would take about seven weeks to learn whether their entry had been approved as the new record-holder, he said.
“But if we don’t, it was fun anyway,” he said. “We enjoyed it and we raised $1,500 for PAVE.”
PAVE Director Linda Campbell said the Montes were longtime benefactors.
“They came up with this creative way to create this win-win for the community,” she said. “It’s just wonderful and we’re very fortunate to have them as supporters of our work.”
Campbell said she was also happy to have a fun event that could raise awareness of the serious issues that are part of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
It took about an hour to make the peanut butter cup, which Monte did outside the shop on Main Street. But with the preparations, Monte said he and his family had a “couple days in it.”
Monte said the reaction was “incredible.” On the night of Oct. 4, people waited patiently in not one line but two. Inside the store, people waited in a line to pay for their peanut butter cup pieces and outside, they waited in another line that stretched down past several storefronts to receive the candy.
“Everybody seemed to be having a good time,” Monte said.
The response was especially gratifying, Monte said, because there was so much to do that night in Bennington’s downtown thanks to the First Friday event organized by the Better Bennington Corp.
Monte said he knew he had made a special contribution to First Friday after one customer said he had only been driving through town when he saw all of the people gathered around the peanut butter cup and decided to stay the night in Bennington after seeing all of the night’s events.
It was also a family event with Monte’s wife, Judy, daughters Denise and Sherry and son Ken, who works at the Village Chocolate Shoppe, all taking part in the preparation or sale of the peanut butter cup.
Monte said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll try to make another peanut butter cup of similar size but his son, Ken Monte, said, “We consistently top ourselves but I don’t think we’re going to top this one.”
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