You can really show your age by what song pops into your head when you hear it’s National Lollipop Day. The Chordettes, LL Cool J, or Lil Wayne? It’s a mix of those for me, plus a healthy dose of MIKA and Aqua’s Candyman, for good measure. Hoo boy, looking at that list of songs, I suppose the lollipop hasn’t really inspired many deep-thought types of music, huh 😛 But what they do inspire is a child-like nostalgia for sweets and candy. Lollies, suckers, anything you call them, a lollipop is a hard candy that is mounted onto a stick for easy consumption. The idea of putting stuff on a stick isn’t new, but hard candy on a stick–and having that be referred to as a “lollipop”–was created in 1908 by George Smith of New Haven, Connecticut. Since then, lollipops have broadened to nearly any sweet you can put on the end of a stick, from tiny Dum-Dums to gigantic rolled hard candy pinwheels. Lollipops can have candy centers–like the ubitquitous Tootsie Pop–or non-edible centers, like the newfangled twirling pops that will even do the licking for you. (God, we’ve gotten to be such a lazy country…won’t even lick our own candy…) And, just like so many other sweets and confections, lollipops range in quality from dime store suckers to gourmet flavors and textures.
You can snag yourself a Chupa Chup at Dylan’s Candy Bar (heck, even get the gigantic ones the size of a toddler’s head) and make yourself feel special sucking on that thing all day (….twss?). Or you can try something new, freshly-made, and delicious over at Papabubble on Broome Street. A unique new candy store just outside of Greenwich Village, Papabubble offers homemade candies and sweets in the old-time tradition you haven’t seen in the city in years. Dylan’s and Economy Candy Market are great for those nostalgic manufactured candies of your youth, but they’re all pre-packaged, sitting on the shelf for God knows how long. (Hopefully they’re not actually as old as your nostalgic candy cravings!) But Papabubble makes candies fresh and delicious. They specialize in gourmet lollipops, made the old fashioned way with stretched sugar, wrapped around itself into tantalyzing shapes. You can pick up a pre-made lolly today, or watch the in-house presentations on candymaking and get it fresh from the candymaker–now that is some great service! It’s even so popular that the queen of all things homemade and artisan, Martha Stewart, stopped by Papabubble to try her own hand at hand-crafting lollipops. New York is the home of the only Papabubble in America, so once you have your lolly for National Lollipop Day and tell all your friends how amazing it is, make sure to get their phone number–you’ll probably get a ton of requests for care packages afterwards!
380 Broome St (between Mott St & Mulberry St)
“Papabubble is a Barcelona-based candy operation that opened its doors in 2004 as “caramel artesans” in the Gothic Quarter known as “Gotico” – an area of Barcelona known for its historic significance. The store started selling handmade hard candies, lollipops, and novelty shaped sweets in a variety of fruit flavors: melon, orange, peach, strawberry, banana, mango, raspberry, blueberry, passion fruit, guava, watermelon, lemon, and lime. In addition, the candy makers blend spices with fruits to create special flavors: pear bergamot, lemon lavender, strawberry pine, raspberry sage, and orange cardamon. Other offerings include butterscotch, sour fruits, cherry cola, root beer, peppermint, cinnamon and more.”–It’s As Simple As That
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Now this was a fun store – we walked by on Sunday at 2p and they were making candy! They do basically hard candy only, it seems, with small bags, and lollipops of all kinds. Very cool how they showed us how they made the candy, and friendly staff explaining each step and our checkout. A good place to get gifts, even if it is a bit expensive for just a lollipop.”–Hank C.
“Delicious. This really is one of those unique candy stores that everyone hopes to find. They make their own candy on the premises and in front of you! They have bite sized pieces and huge lollipops and some fun shaped candies as well. They aren’t too sweet and each piece is bursting with flavor.”–Michelle W.
Don’t have a big sweet tooth? Well, it’s a good thing then that lollipops, in today’s modern culinary vernacular, doesn’t always mean hard candy on a stick. It can mean anything delectable on the end of a stick, from candied ginger to cucumber to steak. And that’s exactly what I’m highlighting today: steak on a stick. This isn’t just Renaissance Faire stick schtick (though I once had a slice of chocolate-dipped frozen cheesecake on a stick. That was heaven.): high-end restaurants are making steak lollipops as appetizers and amuse-bouches, utilizing the whimsy as a great vehicle to get that flavor to their diners’ mouths. If you’re hankering for a lollipop but can’t take the sugar, head to Poco in the East Village. Here, they offer a skirt steak wrapped around a little ball of manchego cheese, and delicately skewered onto what look like shish-ka-bob sticks. But this is no shish-ka-bob: the steak is juicy and tender, with each slice perfectly cooked and seasoned. The presentation may become a bit messy with the sauces, steak, and cheese (and definitely since you’ve got to bite to get to the center of this Tootsie Pop!), but it’s worth giving Poco extra credit for their creativity. A well-executed skirt steak dish is all well and good, but a well-executed skirt steak served to you on lollipop skewers? What a memorable dish!
33 Ave B
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Skirt steak lollipops with manchego cheese and pesto aioli. Steak and cheese rhymes with Applebee’s, which is where I’d usually expect to find this particularly bougie food combination, or in its perfected form at Pat’s in the Illadelph. Assumption is overrated. Poco doesn’t just dunk on Applebee’s, it turns around and punches it in the face and then gets ejected for a flagrant foul like Ron Artest. These lollipops are the Ron Artest of the steak and cheese game; they don’t really make a whole lot of sense when you’re first exposed to them, but they’re damn good regardless.”–Rex F.
“This was the surprise winner of the evening as we were a teensy bit skeptical–I mean, skewered meat is often overcooked and saved only by the sauces alongside. This was sooo not so. Mmmmm I’m drooling just thinking about these babies. The steak was cooked to perfection and melted in your mouth. The manchego drizzled over the warm heap of lollipops married with the slight tangy sweetness of the onion jam and the additional creamy layer of the cilantro pesto was a party in our mouths…one we never wanted to end.”–Victoria G.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!