I don't remember the first time I ever tasted chocolate. I know that I've loved it for a long time and it's a big part of my holiday memories. Easter in particular was the holiday of chocolate for us growing up.

One year, in an effort to be the best at hiding our baskets, my dad put mine in the front window behind the curtain. After what seemed like eternity and a few tears, on my part, he told me where it was. As I pulled it out from behind the curtain, more tears fell from my face as the big, chocolate bunny had melted and didn't look much like a bunny anymore. My mom called it a life lesson.

Here in the Hudson Valley, we are lucky enough to have some amazing chocolatiers and candy shops making sweet treats right here and there's still time to get some amazing Hudson Valley chocolate and add it to your Easter baskets. Here's just a few of my favorites.

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Krause's Chocolates have been making candy since 1929. They make hand-dipped chocolates in over fifty varieties, as well as different flavors of fudge, and peanut brittle. They also always have specialty items for holidays and Easter is no exception.  They have everything for Easter from solid chocolate bunnies and crosses to chocolate eggs that are to die for. Find them at any of their three locations, South Partition Street in Saugerties, Church Street in New Paltz, and Montgomery Street in Rhinebeck.

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Oliver Kita Chocolates create a line of artisan, fair-trade, and organic chocolates. They use the flavors of flowers, fruits, herbs, nuts and berries to make their amazing chocolates and carry a special line for Easter including Farm Fresh Easter Chocolate Bars, 24 carrots, and Chocolate eggs. You can find these and other goodies at their shop on West Market Street in Rhinebeck.

Serhiy Zavalnyuk

Alps Sweet Shop has been making handmade candies and chocolates since 1922. They make candies in small batches, using only the freshest ingredients. Their attention to detail is amazing. They'll create sweets for any occasion you may need and of course they have you covered for Easter. They have small and large bunnies, eggs, pops and more to create a beautiful Easter basket. They have two locations on Main Street in Fishkill and Main Street in Beacon.

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This certainly isn't a list of all of the chocolates handmade here in the Hudson Valley, but it will get you started. What's your favorite maker or shop? Let me know in the comments and we can add it to the list, plus I'll have to go and do a little tasting!