The Baltimore Examiner
Phelps medals come in gold — and milk or dark
By Jaime Malarkey Examiner Staff Writer 10/1/08
Albert Kirchmayr works on the coins honoring swimmer Michael Phelps in the Timonium chocolate store on Wednesday. Two thousand of the coins will be given away during Saturday’s parade for the Olympian. — Kristine Buls/Examiner Albert Kirchmayr has made chocolate holly leaves, horse shoes, and badminton shuttle cocks. Traveling in Europe several years ago, he picked up a mold of a cicada and sold thousands of chocolate bugs during the 2004 invasion.
So when the TImonium candy maker was commissioned to make gold — chocolate — medals to distribute at a parade honoring local Olympic champion Michael Phelps this weekend, Kirchmayr was ready for the challenge.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Kirchmayr said. “This is certainly something different.”
The 2-inch disks of milk and dark chocolate feature the now-famous image of Phelps pointing in the air after winning his eighth gold medal in Beijing. But Kirchmayer isn’t making just eight: he has spent the past four days churning out 2,000 chocolate medals.
The parade will kick off at 3 p.m. Saturday near Towson High School and head south toward Rodgers Forge where the swimmer grew up. Kirchmayr’s confections will be distributed for free along the route, and even parade organizers couldn’t resist the puns.
“’Sweet deal,’ huh??” writes Ellen Kobler, a Baltimore County spokeswoman helping to plan the massive event, in an e-mail.
But the Bavarian chocolatier, who has been making gourmet candy in Baltimore since 1985, said he’s more impressed with Phelp’s mother, Debbie, than the champion swimmer.
Kirchmayr said he was “blown away” that she departed Beijing before the Olympics’ closing ceremonies to return to her job as principal at Windsor Mill Middle School.
“I’ve never seen someone so dedicated,” Kirchmayr said. “Everyone looks for an excuse not to go to work, but this was the exact opposite.
“Well,” he added, “At least you know where her son gets it from.”
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