Here’s another doozy of a holiday! Who doesn’t love candy? The history of candy has been around for thousands of years, with hard, soft, chocolate, and liquid candies being sweetened by sugar or honey. Every culinary culture around the world enjoys candy–and what better place to get one than in an old-time candy shop? Candies became popular in the United States in the 1830s, when the sugar refining process became automated, and the production of candies skyrocketed. Candy shops opened to sell these sweets at rock-bottom prices, and they’ve been staples in American towns ever since.
I’ve highlighted quite a few other candy shops in New York City when celebrating individual candy national food holidays, like Economy Candy Market on Gumdrop Day, Dylan’s Candy Bar on Peanut Cluster Day, Myzel Chocolates on Licorice Day, William’s Candy Shop on Taffy Day, Papabubble on Lollipop Day, and even It’s Sugar on Chocolate Covered Insects Day. Because there are just too many candies to even name, to try to highlight all the varieties, I’m just listing a few of the candy shops that I haven’t gotten to yet in New York City. Here we go!
The Sweet Life in Chinatown has been operating for thirty years, and has tons of chocolate and sugar goodies for you to try. But my favorite thing they have here is halvah! The crumbly candy made from sesame seed paste is a Mediterranean delicacy, and they offer both marbled and chocolate-covered varieties you can buy in store or online. It even has the distinction of being Martha Stewart’s favorite place to go when her sweet tooth comes calling!
The Sweet Life
63 Hester St (between Essex St & Ludlow St)
“The Sweet Life has been a candy store favorite in the city of New York for over 25 years. Specializing in gourmet chocolates, gummies, and dried fruits, the only problem you’ll have when visiting The Sweet Life is in deciding what to try next. Special features include European candies, and crowded shelves full of vintage candies you forgot even existed. The store motto? “Anything can be dipped in chocolate.””–Rates To Go
“Brother-sister team Sam Greenfield and Diane Miller bought this tiny neighborhood store in 2004 and stocked it to capacity with gummies, hard candy, dried fruit, and chocolate made on the premises. Ask about the pumpkin pie fudge, you won’t regret it. Top treats: Marshmallow kebabs made from five marshmallows skewered on a stick and drenched in milk chocolate. A gummy pet rat available in five different colors. Hand-made macadamia nut clusters. As for gifts, you can create your own basket and fill it with gummy fangs, tasty chocolate pumpkins, and harvest mix.”–New York Magazine
“The Sweet Life in NYC is a bonafide candy store down in chinatown. They cary a wide variety of candies, nuts, and other sweet treats including something called a softy pop – typically chocolate covered marshmallow, which are very tasty. Stepping into this place, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.”–Eric Isaac
“This old fashioned candy shop in Chinatown is serving up jars and jars of licorice, gummy candy, and chocolate. Stop in and see their selection of giant gummy bears weighing 5 pounds each. You’ll also find some sugar free and kosher treats.”–CBS New York
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“This is a great, somewhat out of the way tiny spot for sweets that has been in business since 1982! One of my favorite things here is the chocolate-dipped marshmallows on a stick studded with mini-M&Ms. If you love chocolate, you will love this shop. It is a little pricey but offers a huge variety of nuts, marshmallows (lemon flavor? s’mores flavor? peppermint flavor? anyone?) and food knick-knacks. that will make you want to buy them all up. You will be amazed at the array of goods offered in such a small space.”–Jason N.
“Giant PEZ dispensers, honey baked pecans, candy galore and more! What a rare find in Chinatown/Little Italy. I stumbled across it and was drawn in by the name. If you have a sweet tooth, this is the place for you. My friend and I happily left with honey baked pecans and I came back a few days later for more! The workers here are super friendly and totally embody the candy store charm.”–Surge C.
Dewey’s Candy in Brooklyn is the brainchild of a former executive who, while unemployed, realized that candy is recession-proof. She’s built up this DUMBO candy wonderland for the nostalgic set who love Pixy Stix, Turkish Taffy, and was lips. The coolest thing in this small candy shop is the multicolored chandelier above–which is actually made out of lollipops!
141 Front St (between Pearl St & Jay St), DUMBO
“Alison “Dewey” Oblonsky’s white-walled candy lair brims with old-fashioned charm, from the whimsical lollipop chandelier above to the barrels and jars of sweets reminiscent of a general store. Despite its small size, Dewey’s is well-stocked with childhood classics such as Nerds, Pixy Stix and Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy, but Oblonsky has a brazen side, too. For Halloween, she’s going all out with orange Pop Rocks, gummy candy corn and bags of “blood” filled with cherry juice. Little ones may never settle for mini Snickers bars again.”–Time Out New York Kids
“located in dumbo, dewey’s candy is a cute shop with all the basic candies you could every think of (m&ms, sours, licorice, salt water taffy,) plus lots of childhood favorites like bit-0-honey-n, necco candy wafers, major league chews, ice cubes and red hots. dewey’s candy also had some tennis-ball sized jawbreakers and gummies in all shapes and sizes (the centipedes were a big hit with my son’s birthday party) and huge barrels of chocolate covered hearts and hersey kisses.”–Cherry Patter
“The new confectionery caters more to candy-loving grown-ups than kids, stocking an armory of nostalgic treats like Wax Lips and Fun Dip in addition to standard fare like Snickers bars — and should fit in nicely with the high-end chocolatier, the French bakery and the creamery.”–The Brooklyn Paper
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Dewey’s is an amazingly fun and whimsical candy store that any child would love, and brings every adult back to childhood. They have a wonderful selection of new and nostalgic candy, gummies, chocolates, and even sugar free. Whether you are getting a bag for yourself or gifts for others, Dewey’s is the place to go.”–Laurie D.
“Did someone say candy? This place has tons of it. I’ve been to my fair share of candy shops and what I love about this place is the striking colors, the playfulness in the decor, the wide array of candies – the usual suspects were present (chocolate caramels, chocolate covered peanuts, swedish fish). They even have interesting spicy chocolates that tasted delish! They also host private parties and events at the shop. Pretty cool!”–Chante R.
Finally, I know there are some British expats out there who long for the authentic sweets of their youth, but can’t find any of them on this side of the pond. Look no further! The London Candy Company does their best to import all the British favorites, like Aero Bars, Jelly Babies, and Toffee Crisp. They also have candies you may be familiar with, like M&Ms and Mars bars, but they’ll taste slightly different: British candies are made with pure sugar, instead of high fructose corn syrup like their American counterparts. Even American brands taste a little sweeter when they’re from Britain! And anyone who’s been to England–or hell, even Canada–knows that Cadbury, that pinnacle of British chocolates, is better when it’s from England, because their food laws require a higher level of real cocoa in all chocolate products. London Candy Company has it all! No longer will you have to bribe friends going overseas to bring back a suitcase full of Cadbury and your other favorite British sweets…or was that just me? 😛
London Candy Company
1442 Lexington Ave (between 93rd St & 94th St)
“This candy shop features candy imported from the UK. On the shelves are candies like Mint Aero bars, Munchies, and Bassetts Jelly Babies. Some bright colored wrappers may seem familiar like M&Ms and Twix, but these are a bit different than their counterparts because these imported sweets are made with real sugar.”–CBS New York
“Good luck getting budding Anglophiles to leave this Upper East Side candy mecca, a shrine to the not-typically-seen sweets savored by boys and girls across the pond. Not surprisingly, candy giant Cadbury has a starring role among the well-known United Kingdom imports—Tootsie Roll hankerings need to be indulged elsewhere—but you’ll also stumble upon novelties. Strands of strawberry-flavored Loopy Laces, squishy Jelly Babies, and cocoa cream–filled Happy Hippo biscuits, for example, may leave curious kids clamoring for a trip to Buckingham Palace instead of Disney World.”–Time Out New York Kids
“Some of the brightly wrapped bars, boxes and sacks that fill the shelves and bins in this store, which specializes in English candy, might come as a surprise. Along with Aeros, Toffee Crisp Clusters and Minstrels, there are M & M’s, Snickers and Twix. What’s so Brit about those? But Jigs Patel, who opened the store about two weeks ago, said that those candies with the familiar names are made for the English and European market. The sweetener is cane sugar, not corn syrup, making them taste a tad less sweet, as a comparison of domestic and imported M & M’s showed.”–The New York Times
“Indeed, there’s no better way to understand the difference between the American and the British attitude toward candy than to stroll into this store, with all its off-the-wall candy names: Curlywurly, Snack, Lion, Power Pencils, Picnic, Wispa Duo, Boost, Brunch Bar, Licorice Cream Rock, and Randoms. Clearly, the Brits see an exploding world of possibilities in candy bars, while American candy makers continue to merchandise a hidebound catalog of mainly historical forms.”–The Village Voice
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Hooray for British candy! Not really but hooray for London Candy Company. I got so many candies that I haven’t even seen since I was in London years ago. Some candies are hit or miss because we’re talking about different flavor palates but especially if you’ve been or lived there this place will help take you back. The staff is sweet (no pun intended) and the prices are decent. Oh and there’s even some gems that we don’t get in the US but they’re here like different flavored kitkats and stuff like that. Worth a look see.”–Beth A.
“I work a block away from the London Candy Co. and visit the store at least three times a week. Not only is it a great place to get the snacks I miss and crave from my time living in Ireland but the staff is extremely friendly so it’s always nice to stop by and just chat with Howie or Jiggs. If there’s anything you’re missing from the UK and can’t find it in the store, feel free to mention it to any of the employees; they’re open to suggestions and try very hard to get things in stock that their customers are interested in purchasing.”–Pamela-Cleo G.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!