If you have a sweet tooth (or ten), you know the sugar-lust that comes with stepping into an amazing candy shop. We’ve assembled a guide to some of the best candy and chocolate purveyors in Massachusetts so you can indulge with discernment.
1. Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie, Salem
Don't let the painfully quaint name put you off: the Pepper Candy Companie is actually an incredibly olde sweet shop. This place produced American's first commercially available candies over 200 years ago. And the story behind their signature confections, Salem Gibraltars, is almost unbelievable. In 1806, an English woman named Ms. Spencer and her son were shipwrecked just off the coast of Salem. Using a barrel of sugar donated by her sympathetic new neighbors, Ms. Spencer tried getting by through candy-making. And it worked. Her melty and delicious Gibraltars are still around and on sale today.
2. Phillips Candy House, Dorchester
At 90 years old, Phillips Candy House is Boston's oldest chocolatier. Four generations of family have cared for this candy shop and the tradition is holding strong. They artfully blend premium fresh ingredients in small batches using original recipes and methods. Rumor has it that Oprah herself is a huge fan of their chocolate turtles! Check out their "build-your-own" 1lb fudge box and their maple half-dips.
3. Kandy Korner, Hyannis
This place is an old-fashioned candy, chocolate, and gift extravaganza. Watch gigantic blobs of taffy being hand-pulled by artisans (they do this right against the front display windows so you don't even have to go inside to catch the show) and fill a paper bag with penny and nickel candy. Grab a bag of freshly popped popcorn, a giant bag of cotton candy, or take home a big box of homemade fudge. They have a huge selection of local favorites like cranberry bog frogs and homemade beach plum jams, as well as vintage and hard-to-find candies older patrons might remember from their childhood. Of course, modern brand favorites are there as well.
4. Cocoapelli Chocolates, Natick
This place was founded by a former carpenter, Jonathan Spillane. He makes each of the delectable treats in his shop by hand. These chocolates are truly edible art. Try the buttercream caramels and the key lime ganache.
5. Chocolee, North End
Lee Napoli founded this fascinating shop in 2007 after a long and illustrious career as an award-winning pastry chef. All of her creations are sophisticated and mouth-watering, but Chocolee's truffles are especially glorious. Try truffle flavors like chile, espresso, and Grand Marnier. The shop also offers chocolate-making classes. And don't forget a chocolate-dipped beignet!
6. Pop's Biscotti & Chocolates, Wilbraham
Here's a wonderfully sweet option in western Mass. Pop's offers an amazing selection of hand-crafted chocolates and candies like peanut butter pyramids and ancho chile chocolates. And obviously their biscotti are mouth-watering.
7. Chatham Candy Manor, Chatham
The Chatham Candy Manor was founded in 1955 by my Naomi Louise Turner. Today, this place is a local sugar institution. Expect homemade goodies made with lots of local flavors and love. Sample their rainbow of candy fruit slices or a hunk of their rocky road fudge.
8. Harbor Sweets, Salem
All-natural and allergen-sensitive candy ahoy. Harbor Sweets offers a large selection of gluten-free, sugar-free, and seasonal chocolates and candies that seriously do not disappoint. Definitely pick up a box of their salted butter crunch chocolates (my mouth is tingling just writing that) and add a bag of their gluten-free peanut butter sea biscuits and chai truffles while you're at it.
9. Berkshire Bark, Sheffield
Berkshire Bark specializes in top-quality Belgian chocolate "bark" packed with whole roasted nuts, fresh citrus zest, and dried fruits. It may be time to upgrade from that Hershey's bar.
10. Prides Crossing Confections, Prides Crossing
This is a great old-fashioned candy shop. Don't miss their almond butter crunch or delicately iced chocolate confections. Every offering is crafted to the demanding standards of grandmothers who won't settle for less than the best for their grandkids' Easter baskets.
I think my blood sugar is spiking just looking at all those delectable goodies. What’s your favorite sweet shop in Massachusetts?