Candy isn’t just for kids or Valentine’s Day. A homemade candy truffle with a rich chocolate ganache center and dusted with cocoa powder or a piece of crunchy white chocolate bark studded with almonds brings delight to almost anybody, any time. It’s why we get excited to step into candy stores.
Those with a sweet tooth have their favorites; some want penny-style candy like jelly beans, gummy bears and sour worms. While others crave sophisticated, artisanal bonbons crafted with fruit pieces, fragrant spices and liquors, or whimsical molded chocolate novelties.
Candy reflects trends as much as other foods, and now there are more vegan, fair-trade and sugar-free choices than ever. The next time you are craving something sweet, consider stopping into one of these Northeast candy stores.
Some cities and villages get lucky with a choice of candy stores. In small historic Rhinebeck, along the Hudson River, there are three shops making signature-style treats to choose from.
Oliver Kita Chocolates, named for its owner, is famous for organic homemade chocolate bars that play up historic area sights. The Beekman Buttercrunch bar, ode to the Beekman Inn – the oldest inn in North America, is made with dark chocolate, toffee and sea salt. Kita is also known for handcrafted chocolate Buddhas and colorful bonbons flavored to reflect the season.
For those who favor classic-style candies, Krause’s Chocolates, founded in 1929 and with two other locations through upstate New York, offers more than 50 varieties of homemade candy and chocolates such as decadent truffles, peanut butter cups, cream-filled chocolates and bags of old-school gummy raspberries, candy corn and chocolate-dipped pretzels.
When you’re going on a trip, sometimes the best thing to do is to follow your stomach. In recent years, food tourism has become more and more popular.
And then there’s Samuel’s Sweet Shop, which was saved and purchased by residents after owner Ira Gutner died suddenly. The tiny 400-square-foot spot resembles a candy shop straight from a TV set, hardly surprising given that actors Dean Morgan, Paul Rudd and Hilarie Ros Burton bought it. The store is a favorite haunt of adults who come for a cup of its Partners Coffee and kids who stop by for gummies, Hubba Bubba bubble gum and Pez dispensers.
Dylan Lauren, daughter of Ralph Lauren, started Dylan’s Candy Bar as one colorful candy shop on New York’s Upper East Side in 2001. Bins burst with gummies, Sour Patch Kids, jellies and more than 7,000 confections. It became so popular that she expanded it to multiple levels, added a cafe, novelties such as a chocolate fountain, non-candy merchandise, and cloned it in more than a dozen locations and airport shops.
On the city’s Lower East Side, Economy Candy once was a shoe and hat repair shop with a pushcart outside selling candy. However, candy became the focus after it outsold the other goods. Now in its fourth generation, the shop stocks more than 2,000 varieties from chocolate coins and graham crackers to pecan patties, pick-and-mix old-fashioned treats by the pound, dried fruits and nuts, European Cadbury and Nestle sweets and candy arranged by color.
Jagielky’s Homemade Candy in Ventnor is the original location of this 47-year-old candy store, now also in Margate. The over 40 varieties of chocolates are made from scratch, including real buttercream centers and freshly roasted nuts. Every season brings forth specials such as four versions of caramel apples, milk and dark foil-wrapped chocolate leaves and turkeys for fall, and chocolate-covered Valentine’s Day strawberries.
Since Fred Conrad and John Krachtus started Conrad’s Confectionery in Westwood in 1928, the business has moved into a second generation with J.J. Krachtus, an engineer, taking charge. In summer, the shop focuses on 22 flavors of ice cream, hot fudge and freshly whipped cream. Come fall, candy such as milk and dark chocolate pralines coated in rainbow sprinkles and molded holiday novelties steal the limelight.
Opened more than four decades ago, Harbor Sweets in Salem, Mass., makes caramel and almond butter crunch in copper kettles with wooden paddles, as well as four specialty lines. The star of it’s nautical collection is the “Sweet Sloop,” almond butter crunch shaped into a triangle to resemble a sailboat, covered in white chocolate, dipped in dark chocolate and coated with crushed pecans.
Richardson’s Candy Kitchen is a classic candy shop in Deerfield, Mass., that has been around since 1954 and now owned by Kathie Williams. It’s known for its “Dixie” turtles – chocolate on the outside and caramel and nuts, Rice Krispies or cranberries inside. Other favorites include sea salt caramels, white peppermint chocolate bark, nonpareils, peppermint patties dipped in dark chocolate and seasonal sweets such as fall’s caramel apples covered in chocolate and peanut brittle.
Among the newer shops, Life is Sweet Candy Store, in downtown Keene, N.H., and Brattleboro, Vt., has been famous for cupcakes since it opened in 2012. The candy rates raves, too. Choose from 10 flavors of gummy bears, chocolate covered raisins, espresso beans and pretzels with bacon.
Which of these candy stores will you go to satisfy your sweet tooth? Do you have another favorite candy shop that we forgot to mention? Tell us in the comments.
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