Tag Archives: candy

Sweets for the Sweet

Late last week, I found a pleasant surprise in my Gmail inbox: Hook had gifted me a Groupon to Fiona’s Sweetshoppe (Sutter and Kearney, approximately). I’m a devotee of the Wonderful Foods Co., myself, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 26 years on earth, it is to avoid looking a gift horse in the mouth — if only to prevent getting your face chomped. If there’s another thing I’ve learned — and I hope I’d have learned more than one thing!– it’s that free candy is the sweetest candy of all.

Saturday afternoon, we wandered to the ‘Shoppe, which is tucked away from the flow of traffic (and which is easy to miss if you’ve never been there). A tiny storefront near Loehmann’s, Fiona’s is stocked to capacity with British and Scottish delicacies, along with other Sweets of the World. Most of the stock is bulk candy, though the store carries individual bars and packets, too.

Upon our arrival, a harried-looking sales clerk (in an adorable floral sundress & with perfect, spidery, ca-1966 lashes) asked, “Are you here with a Groupon?” Sheepishly, I nodded. In response to the Groupon-generated surge of business, the good people at Fiona’s had put together sample boxes for those interested in trying the widest-possible array of sweets for their money.

But I wasn’t interested in the pre-made box: no! I wanted to get a jar of candy. Each $10 jar contains approximately half a pound of confections; one can fill one’s jar with up to three varieties of candy. The best part? Once you’ve finished your sweets, you can refill the jar for only $6. I realize that this isn’t the best of deals, but 1) the jar is very cute; 2) the jar is a much better means of transporting gummy candies than, say, a plastic bag; 3) Fiona’s stock is more interesting than that of other stores, and the candies are also imported (and as such, understandably costlier).

Tasty morsels from Fiona's: a jar of gummies (left) and hard candies (right).

True to form, I filled my jar with gummies: strawberry creams, champagne bubbles, and pencil nibs (which resemble cream-filled, fruit-flavored licorice bits). Hook, keeping with convention, filled his jar with hard candies, the best of which are cola cubes — sugar-encrusted dice that taste like old-fashioned soda. I’ll be honest: my jar is about one-third gone ALREADY. Damn you, delicious pencil nibs!

Will I be back to Fiona’s? Oh, yes. Maybe not soon — it’s too close to swimsuit season to risk a permanent stock of champagne bubbles, and regularly shelling out $17/pound for candy could bring about True Financial Ruin — but soon enough. After I empty my jar, I’ll allow a grace period of five days before getting my refill. That seems right and dignified: fitting for this charmingly British shop.


In the News: Weekly Roundup

Halloween approacheth, and with it come stories of all sorts about one of my all-time favorite foodstuffs: CANDY! Demonize it if you will — I certainly do, though my naysayings are often tongue-in-cheek — but candy remains one of my solidest, most unadulterated pleasures, even at my age. I’m not saying I’m getting on in years, though most people (by 26) have replaced candy with loftier enjoyments like going to the MoMA, drinking fine scotch, or watching the Roomba suck up every bit of dust from their hardwood floors. Not I! Here are some candy-themed pieces that are thoughtful, enlightening, or just plain fun.

OH MY GOD: I am so jealous of these kids.

This New York Times article profiles Samira Kawash, the so-called “Candy Professor” whose personal obsession with the social history of candy propelled her to create a blog on the subject (and retire from academia to pursue her sweets-research). Saveur presents a gallery of international candy bars — I’d like to try the Idaho Spud, dumpy as its packaging is (or perhaps because of the dumpy packaging). Sugarcrafter offers a recipe for homemade candy corn, which I may try, and the LA Times highlights the Mendez family, who make traditional Mexican confections using generations-old recipes. In cultural nostalgia-related news, Willy Wonka’s flavor changing gum has been produced! We’re still waiting on Fizzy Lifting Drink. Actual candy more your bag? Check out the world’s largest gummy worm. (Note: I disagree with the author’s assessment of the confection as “gross.” How rude! “Genius” is more like it.) Finally, in gripes, City Pages’ Rachel Hutton echoes the claim that Fun Size bars are getting smaller. Snickers hasn’t yet responded to Hutton’s inquiry about reduced bar size, but the article features a picture of a Fun Size bar next to a tape measure, so, I mean, the accusation is probably true.

That’s all the news from Lake Woebegone. This weekend, I’ll be carving a pumpkin, ransacking my closet for something that could be used as a costume, and enjoying individually-wrapped candies, of course! It’s never as fun to purchase for oneself said candies, but I’m afraid that my inability to pass for a tween renders any other collection method impossible. Oh, well: that’s why Assortments were created.