Before Easter, the soda counter of imported marble in the tiny ice cream shop in Oakley takes a backseat to the tables and tables of homemade candies at Aglamesis Brothers.

Specialty Easter items include hand-crafted solid chocolate molded bunnies, chocolate-covered cream eggs wrapped in brilliantly colored foils, and eggs of fluffy marshmallow covered in chocolate.

"We have everything that a person needs to put together the perfect Easter basket," says James T. Aglamesis, CEO. He's the son of Thomas Aglamesis who, along with brother Nicholas, founded the famed ice cream and gourmet candy-making business in 1908 after emigrating from Greece.

 Their most famous piece is their Opera Cream made of fresh cream, butter and sugar surrounded by their dark chocolate made in the kitchen on-site.  Don't overlook the acclaimed  Pecandes of homemade caramel rolled in pecans and covered in chocolate.

While this year's crop of goodies is wrapped and ready to go, next year's harvest is wrapped in uncertainty thanks to a power struggle on the Ivory Coast, where more than a third of the world's cocoa beans are produced. Fears of a civil war caused cocoa futures to hit a 32-year price high in February.

But, back to Oakley and a conversation with Aglamesis. And the chocolates.


With your tables of crosses, bunnies and eggs, is this your biggest season?

Easter is probably the largest, followed by Christmas and then Valentine's Day.

What is the secret to your chocolate?

There is no secret to it, it's just upholding our tradition of quality and buying the best chocolate. Our products, our cream eggs are made with butter and cream and their shelf life is limited because there are no preservatives. So, no secret, just good quality control.

Are you a big chocolate consumer yourself?

My dear wife certainly is.

But it's not a staple of your diet?

No. I'll take dark chocolate when I do.

Do you ship a lot of candy to your fans?

In the vicinity of 10 percent annually. Across the country, but especially to California and Florida, where a lot of Cincinnatians go. We did ship by the postal service (early on). I remember as a kid back in the '30s, looking at the boxes marked for the postal service. Now it's all UPS.

Are you watching the situation on the Ivory Coast and the ban on exporting cocoa beans?

Very much so. Apparently the president doesn't want to resign, and (the incoming president) wants there to be no shipping until March. If present conditions ease in the next month or so, there could be an appreciable decline in cocoa prices. My personal feeling is the speculators generally create a lot of this concern "” exacerbating the issue of the day.

How has this situation affected your business for this year?

In September we were going to write a contract for cocoa, then we read there would be a big surplus of cocoa in December (which would lower prices of the beans). That didn't happen because of the political situation. At the present time, our pricing does not reflect the existing market conditions.
 Aglamesis has stores at
3046 Madison Road, Oakley Square, and 9899 Montgomery Road, Montgomery Square Shopping Center.