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).
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.