5 Places for: candy
Posted on July 14, 2021 | By Ashley Fitzpatrick | 0 Comments
All it takes are a few s’mores, carnival cotton candy or a couple of sours shared mid-hike to remind you of those childhood bike rides to the corner store for a little brown bag of one-cent pieces. Who doesn’t enjoy licking the last bit of melted chocolate off your fingers from your favourite candy bar? If you don’t, this list may not be for you. If you do, have a look at some local spots to obtain your candies. Atlantic Canada knows its candy (now thankfully with more sugar-free, gluten-free and peanut-free options). We’re the home of Ganong and Purity Factories. From the hard candies of Robertson’s, produced in Truro since 1928, to the newest creations promoting Peace by Chocolate, you have lots of options to savour new local flavours or pick up some brand classics.
Freak Lunchbox-Halifax, N.S.
There are five Freak Lunchbox locations now, but the original and the business as a whole started 20 years ago this year (March 4 to be exact) on Barrington Street in Halifax. Owner Jeremy Smith told Atlantic Business Magazine the milestone passed rather quietly only because things were so busy. The original store was two doors away from 1729 Barrington, where shop number one is located today. Nowadays, there’s the cotton candy spinner, but the biggest difference might be that the floors above the shop are dedicated to the company’s online store. Freak Lunchbox’s TikTok account, launched in November, has boosted the company’s online sales. Videos featuring Smith’s partner Pamela Evans and Marketing Specialist Leighton Bearchell packing treats, from Fizz to Skittles and all manner of Twix or KitKat have translated into unexpected orders, including one post showing an order being packed for a customer in Quebec. “I think it really struck a chord with people in Quebec because (…) we had 300 orders from Quebec that day,” Smith said. He thinks candy is pretty timeless in its appeal and we’d agree. However, not every business receives the kind of positive response Freak Lunchbox has earned, connecting visitors to new and favourite brands and oddball treats. “The support is amazing,” Smith said.
Oh Fudge!-Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Prince Edward Island has no shortage of food-based businesses and the Founder’s Food Hall and Market will introduce you to a smörgåsbord of products. Alongside the likes of the Lil’ Darlings plant-based deli and the pepper sauces of Maritime Madness, you can find Oh Fudge! The company started in Souris three years ago and sells potato fudge, where they use smooth, puréed potato as a substitution for the usual heaps of sugar. “The potato fudge is a very old recipe. My grandmother used to make it years ago. I just put a new little twist on it,” said owner Tricia McLean Ettinger, who ships out orders in a PEI potato bag. She said the fudge is gluten free, vegan and lower in calories, with so much less processed sugar. Go big with a box of 20 mixed pieces or try a sample of a new favourite from over 20 flavours, including traditional maple, coconut cream and chocolate cheesecake. In the Charlottetown shop, the company also has sea glass candies, chocolates and potato fudge sundaes as options. Plan ahead to match your stop in with one of the larger market’s special events (a calendar is kept online), to make a family outing of it. The Heatwave Festival will be on in late July.
Andréa Confectionery-Bathurst, N.B.
Named after the owner, Andréa Duguay-Cormier, this candy shop on the Main Street is hard to miss, being painted outside to look like it’s made of gingerbread. The shop offers a wide range of treats from nougats to lollipops to a local favourite of chocolate-dipped licorice. Try small-batch candies made in-house, like the chocolate-covered popped rice bar with a caramel corn garnish or pick some Belgian chocolates and a pack of Dr. Pepper cotton candy for the road. You might go for a Curlywurly and a few Bertie Bott’s beans from Jelly Belly in the online shop. Residents of Labrador City may know Duguay-Cormier, given she also had a candy shop while living there. “That’s where I started my story,” she said, in business now over 20 years through her past and present shops. Originally from New Brunswick, she opened Andréa Confectionery, her larger shop of 2,000 square feet, on her return to New Brunswick in 2012.
Mother’s Cupboard Candy and Bake Shoppe-Paradise, N.L.
There are some mighty names in Atlantic Canadian candy, but also upstarts in the mix. Mother’s Cupboard Candy and Bake Shoppe was started by co-owners Andrew and Kayla Bowen in the pandemic and the business just celebrated its first anniversary. They already have a strong, local following, thanks to their maker efforts and attention to detail. The business pays homage to Andrew’s mother and his time with her in the kitchen, as well as his grandmother’s standalone cabinet where she’d keep goodies for her grandkids. The owners were thinking about a business for a long time and tinkered to settle on the right products to start, before the decision to launch. “We decided life isn’t for working jobs you are unhappy in, it is for living,” Kayla Bowen told Atlantic Business by email. “Together we formed a new kind of store where you could find all of (Andrew’s) favourite treats.” Setting baked goods aside, the company offers homemade Turkish delight bon bons, taffy and handmade marshmallows dipped in chocolate. In a video posted to Facebook, so you can see a batch of their freshly made gummy worms being tossed in sugar for finishing. Community demand means no batch is available for too long (if you’re in the area, we hear the next batch of worms will be available Thursday).
Newfoundland Chocolate Company-St. John’s, N.L.
There are few places in Newfoundland and Labrador you can travel without coming across a few Newfoundland Chocolate Company chocolates. Since starting in 2008 and finding their first sales at Belbin’s Grocery on Quidi Vidi Road, co-owners Christina Dove and Brent Smith have steadily built their business. Their shops in the Avalon Mall, on Torbay Road and at the headquarters on Duckworth Street are the place to go if you want to surprise someone with a little something or just pick a few, choice truffles for yourself. The company has been appreciated for creative efforts, incorporating not just local tastes but themes as well, with names like the Smiling Land series. Bergy bits – chocolates with a marshmallow centre – might just remind you of Newfoundland and Labrador if you’re living away, but their version of fish and chips (with chocolate fish and chocolate-covered chips) or an emergency chocolate kit could prove as big a draw to friends and family.
About our “5 Places” series: It’s been a difficult period for small businesses, particularly in tourism and hospitality. While it’s not deep investigation, we wanted to encourage the sector by taking a moment each week to shine a spotlight on some of these small businesses in Atlantic Canada, “5 Places,” with the hope of encouraging people to make some staycation plans and get out to support local (albeit with COVID and related restrictions in mind). We’re featuring spots in no particular order, but with representation from all provinces. The series will continue at least until fall 2021, looking at some hidden gems or popular stops for ice cream, kayaks, comics and more. Any tips on BIPOC-owned businesses, ideas for future themes or general feedback are welcome: [email protected]
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