By Jennifer Silverstein
When Anthony and Leena Caliguire moved to FishHawk from New York five years ago in July of 2004, they experienced a very unusual hurricane season where four hurricanes and one tropical storm ravaged the state. What a welcome to Florida!The couple recently opened The Original Leena’s Chocolates in the old 1,100-sq.-ft. Peterbrooke spot in the Lithia Crossings Plaza. It has redesigned the inside of the shop to have more of a “warm” feeling, which Anthony says reflects his wife’s personality. It will have a sports-themed area within the store, where chocolate basketballs, footballs, golf bags and more will be showcased. It will also have a “green” chocolates display with chocolate grown in environmentally-friendly ways, packaged in edible or biodegradable materials. In the middle of the store will be a “featured” table with seasonal and/or holiday items displayed on it. Currently, it is offering chocolate-covered Oreos with a pumpkin design and a cornucopia filled with truffles. Other delicacies it will be offering in-store include apples covered in caramel, nuts and either white, dark or milk chocolate, truffles, chocolate raviolis, chocolate-covered strawberries and a variety of barks, which will include a peanut butter bark with Rice Krispies, a recipe developed by one of the Caliguire’s three children, two of whom attend FishHawk Creek Elementary and one attends Randall Middle School. It will also be popping fresh popcorn in-store and drizzling chocolate over that as well. Most of the items at The Original Leena’s Chocolates range in the $15-$20 range; more ornate items, such as the footballs and basketballs, are more expensive due to their being more ornate. As if there weren’t enough chocolate-covered goodness in this store already, Anthony and Leena have partnered with Linda Wright at Cork & Olive to dip wine bottles in chocolate. Willy Wonka will be at the Original Leena’s Chocolates the weekends of October 17, 24 and 31, from 12 Noon-1 p.m. Free chocolates and samples will be available. The Original Leena’s Chocolates is located at 3476 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico and is open Monday – Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sundays by appointment only. For more information, please call 643-8500.

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