Austin Texas Team Real Estate Blog


Amy's Chocolate Covered Strawberries-An Austin Valentine's Tradition

ChocoberriesValentine's day in Austin is like any other place except we are the lucky recipients of some of the best chocolate dipped strawberries on the planet (along with outposts in San Antonio and Houston)! These delicious morsels are locally produced by our own Amy's Ice Creams to celebrate the most romantic holiday of the year. Chocolate is a Valentine's Day essential and it would be hard to find anyone who does not enjoy strawberries. Chocolate strawberries are beautiful to look at and wonderful to eat! Anyone who has ever visited Austin's own, Amy's Ice Creams for their luscious, out of this world ice cream knows that they are first and foremost about quality!  Joe Morris, head of production described to me how they select the finest berries in season available. Perfect strawberriesThe trick is that Mother Nature has to cooperate so they have several resources available at this time of year. Amy's also uses a superior quality of dipping chocolate. And let me tell you there IS a difference. There are some vendors who use cheaper ingredients and I have seen a substance known as "candy coating" that does not even qualify as real chocolate. chocolate also contains Phenylethylamine which is the technical name for a substance often described as the "love chemical." When dealing with something that has to do with my love life and my taste buds on Valentine's Day, I don't want fake or cheap substitutes! Amy's uses a premium dipping chocolate from the heart of Belgium created by Callebaut. Excellent quality White Chocolate is also incorporated into the process creating a beautiful and mouth watering indulgence that is extraordinary to behold and consume.Melting Chocolate

As something of a fan of all things culinary, I had the chance to work a shift at the production facility and get hands on experience making some of the treats myself. In the interest of full disclosure, our son, Morgan, was an employee at the Amy's Mira Vista location until he left for college (I am a regular customer at the store and a fan of the manager, Melissa Hanson). Melissa's goal is to make the world's tallest ice cream cone and I would love to volunteer when that happens!! As an employee, Morgan worked a "strawberry" shift and invited me (along with several members of his Westlake football team) to make extra money while learning something new and having fun. We all arrived for the 4PM to Midnight shift and looked at the various tasks available at the different stages of production. Mark & TeresaOperations Managers, Mark Banks and Teresa Noll walked us through the different stations describing the tasks at hand and I have to say you will not find any two individuals as efficient and also cool as these two! They watch over the operation like shepherds over a flock, paying attention to every production detail regarding quality and efficiency including the well being of each of the employees!

dipping strawberriesThe process starts with the freshly washed and scrubbed berries being sorted with the green stems sliced off and placed in trays. These trays are sent to the "Dipping" tables where each berry is individually dipped in a bowl of melted chocolate. This is not as easy as it might seem because the strawberries must be COMPLETELY enveloped in chocolate to prevent leaking from the freshly cut strawberries. As a tray of berries is completed, it must pass inspection by one of the full time pros (I think this must be the most difficult task because each berry has to be scrutinized individually!) Any berries not passing must be returned to the dipping bowls and any tiny holes filled! Upon passing this element of the procedure, the chocolate covered berries are move to a station where the are splattered and drizzled with white chocolate "Jackson Pollock"  style which adds a visually pleasing finish as well as another tasty element to the creation! The berries are then sent to a station where excess chocolate is trimmed and the berries are placed in egg cartons. At this point the cartons are packed in crates and refrigerated before being shipped to the different Amy's locations!

Dipping into chocolateAs we began our shift, we were chosen to work at the task of dipping the strawberries and jumped right in donning our hair nets, gloves and name tags (I chose the name Tyler Durden and it gets a laugh from everyone who notices.) The entire place is filled with the intoxicating smells of melted chocolate and the sweet tangy scent of fragrant strawberries. The sound system is cranking some great music and everyone  is enjoying the work. Dripping white chocolateI don't have to say this but we are all competitive (especially with a group of football players) As we worked we all began to try and outdo one another at the production. It took awhile to master covering the strawberries completely (I am not kidding about this) but I eventually developed a style and rhythm and begin to make some progress. After each tray of my dipped berries was accepted, I would return to our station, raise my hands in triumph and exclaim,"I Rule!". At first, Morgan was somewhat embarrassed and his friends would laugh. I continued to outpace them and each time I returned, they would all laugh and say, "yes, we know..." YOU RULE and eventually my son joined in as we all worked together enjoying some silly and funny banter. I have to tell you that after an eight hour shift I was tired but when we got our paychecks (my first in 18 years) shortly after midnight I was pleased that I had been invited along. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience I will never forget! trimming and packing! 

Do yourself a favor this Valentine's day and treat yourself and your loved one to something sweet, delicious and romantic from Amy's. I have already purchased a dozen for my two best girls and a dozen for my office. They are available at all locations through Valentine's Day, Saturday the 14th! You may want to place an order at your nearest location to ensure there are some available when you arrive! One other noteworthy fact: they usually make extra Chocoberries to mix with into a heavenly concoction called Chocoberry Ice cream and well...just try some, straight up or with hot fudge it yourself with a carton of the most luxurious chocolate dipped strawberries around! 




Russell Lewis Luxury Real Estate Broker Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape 


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Comment balloon 54 commentsRussell Lewis • February 13 2009 11:05AM


After each tray of my dipped berries was accepted, I would return to our station, raise my hands in triumph and exclaim,"I Rule!".


Hey Russell,

Sound like a ton of fun.  We already know you rule.  What we really want to know is how many of those strawberries did you have to "taste test" on the assembly line!!!  :)

Posted by Bruce Brockmeier, Coached By Crouch (Internet Marketing Consultant to REALTORS®) over 10 years ago

Russel it sounds like you have found a great place to spoil yourself!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 10 years ago

You do rule:)

Now this sounds like the true way to a woman's heart.

Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) over 10 years ago

Why do I have the funny feeling that by the time the carton arrives, it may be missing a few of those delectable chocolate covered strawberries!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (Student at UofH Go Coogs!) over 10 years ago

Russell! you are a hoot!  You do rule!  And this is a lovely localism post!!  I would love to taste one of those delicious chocolates!!

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) over 10 years ago

Pay close attention My Sardiboy!!!

Gosh, I just went and checked my mail and there was no sign of these anywhere! I love making chocolate covered strawberries and have come to be rather good a tempering chocolate. Unfortunately, I'm the only one who eats the stuff so I have learned to abstain and just admire the pictures.

You sure went into considerable depth here. You really are a foodie!!!

Posted by Jennifer Monroe, Real Estate REALTOR®/Broker in Beautiful Charlotte (Savvy + Company Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Russell!!! I love this BLOG POST and i love the Chocolate dipped strawberries you brought to the office!  Thank you! Everyone is gobbling them up even as I type this! Happy Valentine's day!!

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Russell, you've highlighted one of my favorites when chocolate is involved. Amy's sounds like the place to be.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 10 years ago

I hate to say it but I've never had those from Amy's.. Might be my stop on the way home.  Happy Valentines to you and Margaret!!



Posted by Karen David-Mohr over 10 years ago

Bruce it's good to see you! I had so much fun and you know I did FAIL TO MENTION that I ended up eating my mistakes!!! Never had it so good!

Bill You said it, I always have a great time and they are nice enough to let me tag along!

Jason I take that as a true compliment from you and yes, it is something you should keep in mind for your beloved!!

Mattie You know me all too well but I will make sure to save enough for BOTH of my girls!

Susan Thank you so much, I am flattered by your compliments! I have so much fun sometimes it should probably be illegal. I wish I could send some of these treats to you but they are so perishable that they do not travel well!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Jennifer It's an honor to have you drop by and yes Jason should pay heed (it's worked for me for years)! And though I am a foodie, I usually go on longer than most about any subject in my blog! Thanks for being such a good inspiration and for encouraging me when I first arrive at Active Rain!! I wish I could write as clearly and succinctly as you but I tend to ramble on! Maybe we can make something in a kitchen someday in your new home in the East?!?!

Allysoun Glad to hear that they went over so well at the office, I had a suspicion that they would be well received!

Gary As with many original items here in Austin, I have a tendency to go overboard. Hopefully Amy's will open an outpost in your part of the world someday!

Mattie I managed to work up some will power and delivered an untouched dozen to the refrigerator this afternoon!

Karen You have to make it by, heck, the Mira Vista location is just a few blocks from your office!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Russell, the strawberries were excellent! Thanks for sharing these delectables with your AveOne colleagues!  Susie

Posted by Susanne Lee (Realty Austin) over 10 years ago

YUM, I love chocolate covered strawberries!!

Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) over 10 years ago

YUM!!  Now I feel like some chocolate.  I'll be back.

Posted by John Cannata, Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance (214-728-0449 over 10 years ago

Working in a chocolate strawberry shop...I am jealous beyond words!!! It sounds like it wasn't just fun, but you MADE it fun!  We have "Sherries Berries" here...similar fare, except they leave the stems and leaves on and only cover up to the leafy top.  They dip them in chocolate chips, nuts or chocolate candy thingies.  The strawberries are HUGE, so you can't eat many of them...but oh, so good!  Thanks for the sharing...guess what I am hungry for now?!!

Posted by Paula Swayne, Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga (Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715) over 10 years ago

Good morning, I have to show property early today so will be back later to reply to your comments, Thanks for stopping by and have a Happy Valentines day (I hope there are some chocolate Strawberries wherever you live!)

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

I am leaving this comment for my lovely daughter "JENNIFER ROSE"....your doing a great job with those strawberries some for me! You know how I love strawberries. You are the sweetest rose in Texas....Happy Valentines Day!!!  Love, Mom and Dad

Posted by Linda Rose over 10 years ago

Happy Valentines Day Russell-Enjoy your day with your beautiful girls. Here is a Valentine for YOU


Posted by Pat Whitehouse, Broker/Owner (RE/MAX 1st Olympic Lynchburg Va) over 10 years ago

Susanne I am so glad you liked them. I had some extras and dropped them at the office. What is funny is that when people taste them they always are surprised and say "These really ARE good!"

Marchel Me too, and these are the best I have ever tasted!

John I do understand that, its the power of suggestion (and with me it just takes a little!)

Paula I have to tell you that though it was work, I had a blast and actually got very good at the process and craft! I like the sound od waht is available in your area too and have a sneaking suspicion that you will be making a visit there soon!

Linda Was your daughter one of the great people working the night I took these pictures? I have to tell you that everyone who is there is very cool and it is just such a pleasant work environment! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

Pat I certainly plan to and THANKS SO MUCH for the Valentine!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Russell you are a person who really knows how to enjoy himself! We love Amy's too and this is a good article for one of those localism posts. Your clients must also have a good time while being represented by one of the best in the business! 

PS I wonder if they have any left or maybe some of that Chocoberry Ice cream! 

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Hi Russell, I dropped by your office for  short visit but you are with a client so I figured I would leave a comment on your latest post! I hope you had fun with both of your special Valentines girls! For some reason, I belive that there were more than a few of those berries that had top pass your "personal" taste test!

Posted by Lynne over 10 years ago

RussellTyler:  Soubnds like you had a great time.  And the strawberries sound delightful.  I managed to avoid sweets yesterday.  It's a miracle!

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 10 years ago

Hi Russell You are do rule!!! This is one great Localism post.  I plan to make chocolate covered caramel marshmallows today but this blog and all the comments about how good these strawberries are is about driving me see you later... I am about ready to get to the produce aisle for some fresh strawberries to add to my candy making project.  Great Great post do rule!!!!!

Posted by June Lewis, Realtor Northwood Realty - New Castle,Pa Lawrence Co 7247304571 (Northwood Realty Services) over 10 years ago

With our long stretches of warm weather, Amy's is the perfect place to enjoy some of the best ice cream in the world! I did not manage to get by for some of the delicious berries but plan on visiting next week for some of that wonderful Chocoberry Ice Cream! You did an excellent job on this post and I enjoyed the links you interspersed to clips about strawberries and chocolate, especially to the trailer for the film Chocolat! Very clever and lots of fun!

Posted by Scott Harvey over 10 years ago

Anne you are right, I do try and inject a little fun in what can sometimes be the arduous process of purchasing a home. When working with newcomers to Austin, I  almost always include a visit to the nearest Amy's as part of an introductory tour of our great city! 

Lynne thanks you for stopping by, I was indeed busy showing a walk in around the common areas here at the Nokonah. Good to hear from you and I hope that you and your Valentine had a chance to try some of Amy's Strawberries too!

Chris Ann  I was surprised that so many of the employees were on to my "TYLER" joke but have to tell you they are all a bunch of hard working and still fun loving individuals and it is a great place to work!!

June Thanks I am laughing as I remember driving them crazy with my silly taunts (Embarrassment is the only leverage we have over the kids at this age!) Hey, let me know how your chocolate dipped berries turn out, I am glad I was able to provide a little "sweet inspiration"!

Scott Thanks you for your comments and compliments! I am also huge fan of the ice cream and like you plan to drop by for some Chocoberry with a scoop of hot fudge and some whipping cream! *WHEW" gilding the lily has never been so tasty!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Russell  Please alert me if Amy ever plans to open in Northern Virginia,  Karen

Posted by Karen Kruschka, - "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS" (RE/MAX Executives) over 10 years ago

Karen I would do that in a heart beat. An interesting story ius that a group from the UT Business School approached Amy with a plan to expand and she decided she would rather stay small and successful and maintain a high quality. Who knows, it might happen someday as long as it all stays so good!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

If I said, would you be my valentine, would you send me some???


Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) over 10 years ago

Hi Renee it was fun participating and a good time posting! I wish I could send you some of these delectable treats but they don't travel well at all! If you are ever in Austin, I would lovr to treat you to some of their awesome ice cream! 

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

How WONDERFUL do all these treats look!!

Posted by Jessica Philpot over 10 years ago

Russell, Scrumptious!!!  Great way to showcase businesses in your community while having us all drool at the same time.

Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) over 10 years ago

Hi Russell - Here I am....I was lost but now I'm found :-)  Unlike Sheldon who announces his time-out (and gets hi-jacked...hehehehe) I took a couple of quiet days too.  So how many of these little beauties did you devour?  It's a good thing you run being as you're "a fan of all things culinary".  I specified NO chocolates this year....sheesh, I'm gonna have to start running too :(  It was kind of fun having you chase me around in the Rain!  Go explain........HAHAHAHAHA


Posted by Gail MacMillan over 10 years ago

YUMMY!!!!  That must have been so much fun!  I went to the Hershey's chocolate factory in Pennsylvania once.  At first it was fabulous!  All that chocolate in every shape and size as far as the eye could see!!!  But by the end, I said I would never eat another piece.  The chocolate dust was in my hair, in my nostrils and on my clothes.  Of course, that declaration didn't last long.  It's still one of my favorite foods.  Love, Merry

Posted by Anonymous over 10 years ago

Choklit' cCover'd Strawbwerries Forever...

Posted by Liz King over 10 years ago

Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering!  Yummy!!

Posted by Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist (Kingsbridge Realty, Inc) over 10 years ago

Russell, what a cute and funny way to highlight one of Austin's truly original businesses! Chocolate and strawberries are a tasty way to a girls heart any day of the year! 

Posted by Jeannette Spinelli (Austin Portfolio Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Hi Russell, I just left a comment on your excellent post about "service" and saw this was new too! You really do know how to have a good time and I can just see you teasing your son and his fellow team mates while competing with them at the same time. You guys never outgrow that do you? I was the happy recipient of some of those chocoberries last week and you are right, there is a difference and Amy's are the very best!

Posted by Erin over 10 years ago

Hi Jess Well...of course they look as sweet as you my friend! Thanks for commenting today!

Gena As you already know, I love to post about my favorite spots for Localism and Amy's is such a fun and TASTY place! Thanks for dropping by!

Gail HA HA! Yes I see you and yes I did eat way too many. Ok, here is my confession. I bought some more and actually ate about 8 or 9 between stops when I was delivering them to some friends and clients. Everyone asked "Don't you want any"? I acted modest and said no thanks, maybe later! All the while knowing I had a stash in the car. Gee, I feel better now but also very FULL! I am now laughing about the "chase" comments and of course it's more fun to make others wonder...great talking to you today! Thanks again!

Merry Thanks so much for leaving a comment! I agree that it MIGHT be possible to "temporarily" get tired of Chocolate but it would pass and I always love it in just about every different form imaginable. Thanks again, I hope all is well in your part of the world and I owe you an email!

Liz King You also "RULE" and a Beatles fan too!

Cynthia Well said and yes it was a very filling I mean, fulfilling experience! And well...yes, I stuffed myself too!

Jeannette Thank you, Amy's is one of the truly original "Keep Austin Weird" companies that maintain exceptional quality and service. And I never hesitate to use chocolate when needed with my two favorite girls!

Erin It is funny and I did enjoy teasing my son. It was all in good humor and he eventually had a good time with everyone else! Thanks for the comment, It's funny but everyone who tries them always says the same thing: They really are different and much better than most!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Hi Russell I just had to check in again this is so funny...Your post inspired me I baked a pineapple upside down cake and thanks to your post made the chocolate covered strawberries to take to the  office ( our meeting day. need I tell you they were a I thank you )  I told our agents I was trying out a new marketing strategy called a BRIBE.....they sell my properties I bring them their goodies.

Posted by June Lewis, Realtor Northwood Realty - New Castle,Pa Lawrence Co 7247304571 (Northwood Realty Services) over 10 years ago

We all know that "Jah Rules" but you are a close second.  The things you write about are a testiment to the character and diversity of Austin... and... you do it very well.

I invite you to join me in search of "El Menudo Mejor" in Austin, Tejas or maybe just a reunion visit to Sam's BBQ sometime in the future.

Love your blog... Jah Rasta!!!

Posted by Rell over 10 years ago

Russell, I stopped at the Amy's near the office and they were talking about your blog. A couple of the people had actually met you at the strawberry dipping, or was it Tyler Durden? You always highlight great local "Keep Austin Weird" businesses!!

Posted by Scott Harvey over 10 years ago

June I am so happy I inspired you to spread around some "sweetness" and there is just something about chocolate and strawberries that should not be missed! I like your idea too, it is indeed a fantastic marketing strategy (bribe or not). Have a sweet and tasty week!

Rell Rastafari me bredren! There is something for all of us here in Austin and I love sharing it with others! Hey, you are on! Okay...wait a minute, I may have to think twice about the Menudo Mejor tour but I am totally up for a meal at my favorite east side BBQ joint, "SAMS" I will call you and we can make it next week! (I might even blog about it!)

Scott That's funny because I have had the same experience when out in public. Someone from that shift (who I do not recognize) will walk up to me and say "Hi Tyler, how's it going?" it cracks me up every time!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

I have to tell you that after reading your post and seeing the pictures, I have the strangest craving for chocolate covered strawberries. LOL

This looks like a lot of fun, and you got to spend time with your son.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 10 years ago

Hi Christine I know what you mean, I have been told by quite a few people that this post had the same effect and it's so funny how the power of suggestion really works!!! BTW I am fortunate and alwasy enjoy tome spent with my children as tey grow older! thanks for stopping by today!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Hey Russell, FYI, Amy's still has some of that delicious Chocoberry ice cream, better get over there before they run out!

Posted by Scott Harvey over 10 years ago

Scott Okay...confession time here, I have stopped by twice in the last 5 days to try some, with a scoop of hot fudge and some whipping cream...Let's see, how many miles running to balance that out?!?!?

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Scott Okay...confession time here, I have stopped by twice in the last 5 days to try some, with a scoop of hot fudge and some whipping cream...Let's see, how many miles running to balance that out?!?!?

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Now you've gone and made me hungry at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Posted by Not a real person over 10 years ago

Russel I dropped back by to reply to your comment and made myself hungry too!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago


I have a trick of the trade for you. In order to get your letters away from the images use the horizontal and vertical settings on the images insert. For horizontal type in 10. For vertical type in 5. It'll make your post even prettier. Can this little girl have a piece of candy now? :)

Crap. I said that out loud :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 10 years ago


The way to a woman's heart is through your wallet. Never forget that :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 10 years ago

TLW Oh I am laughing so hard...can't breath! *WHEW* Candy yes...

Thanks too for the tip because I agree that the words crowd the pictures! I will s certainly do that in the future. For some reason it will not let me correct that today...

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Yum! Can we order these and have them shipped or do I have to plan a trip to Austin for the great taste?

Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) over 10 years ago

 Sharon Sorry but they do not ship well so you would have to amke a trip here! And I wish you and Tami would come back because I would love to show you all some of the cool parts of Austin!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago