We’re all adults now, but when we walk into a great candy store the years melt away. The wonderfully displayed old-timey novelties, homemade creations, and exotic imports fill us with a sense of excitement. Here are the stores we’re sweetest on.
Unless you’ve spent time on a kibbutz, you’ve probably never seen most of the kosher confections at Munchies (8859 W. Pico Blvd., L.A., 310-777-0221 or lamunchies.com). Certain ingredients are verboten (standard gelatin, for example), so the owners must go farther afield to assemble confections capable of winning a rabbi’s approval. Laffy Taffy, PEZ, and Haribo line the shelves, alongside bars and suckers from Poland and Israel. Three hundred bulk bins are filled with hard-to-find classics like candy rocks as well as gummies and sugar-free options. Don’t expect to sate a Saturday-afternoon hankering for rum cordial balls: Munchies is closed for the Sabbath.
Peer through the glass into the kitchen at Farmers Market fixture Littlejohn’s English Toffee House (6333 W. 3rd St., L.A., 323-936-5379 or littlejohnscandies.com), where owner and chief candy maker Michael Graves has been stirring huge vats of chocolate fudge and slicing nut-laced divinity for nearly 25 years. The stand, which opened in 1946, is modest in size and decor—all the better to highlight indulgences like the caramel-covered puffs known as Marshmallow Delights and buttery toffee that, coated in a thin blanket of chocolate and coarsely ground almonds, puts Almond Roca to shame.
The selection at Little Flower Candy Co. (1424 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-304-4800 or littleflowercandyco.com) is small but tantalizing. Behind a charming storefront you’ll find only a half-dozen tasty varieties, two of which are crafted in-house: giant marshmallows and bite-size caramels that have achieved cult status after having been sold at gourmet spots like Clementine. Almost all of the goods are prepackaged, which is helpful if you’re shopping for someone else but less convenient if you’re looking to satisfy a solo craving. Work up to dessert with a house-made sandwich or salad at one of the rustic wood tables.
A handsome 19th-century dry goods counter lends an old-world feel to the 31-year-old Candy Alley (13020 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, 310-394-0714). Shelves are loaded with jumbo jawbreakers and sours. Pieces for custom gingerbread houses, made on-site year-round, perch precariously near the door. Behind the counter, jars of salty licorice and gummies are stacked two deep. Prices can be steep, but compared with the nearby real estate, goodies like the $15.95-per-pound Robin Eggs—caramel-and-chocolate confections swathed in bright blue shells—are a steal.