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The Candy Store

I Want Candy!

You’ll feel like a kid in The Candy Store, a clean and bright new candy shop, just off a busy section of Polk Street on Russian Hill. Owner Diane Campbell wasn’t allowed to eat candy when she was a kid, which only made her crave the stuff even more. Now her childhood obsession has become an adult profession.

Spending time in the shop is a delight. Diane and husband Brian handpick each confection on offer and are more than happy to tell you where the candies come from and treat you to a sample.

The mix of candies includes everything from retro classics that are sure to invoke waves of nostalgia, such as Zotz (a strip of 4 for $1), Pop Rocks and Candy Buttons, to more elegant discoveries like French imported pate de fruit ($25) and fleur de sel caramels ($15).

The store is divided into zones. Up front is a display that features handmade light and airy LC Good lollipops in a rainbow of colors and flavors ($1 carnival pops, $5 small and $10 large), along with boxes of cotton candy and saltwater taffy from Atlantic City ($12) and even tins of chocolate covered potato chips. Along the wall is a shelf that includes English candies such as Cadbury Buttons and Cadbury Flake ($2 each).

The largest section and the main attraction is probably the wall of old-fashioned apothecary jars, each jar filled with candy sold by the pound. Generally the candy costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 -- 12 per pound, making a little bag an affordable indulgence. There are three kinds of malt balls, a selection of licorice, pastel m&m’s, sugar-free candies and all the favorites you might desire -- jawbreakers, jelly beans, “carrots and peas” of mint and candy corn. Gumballs come in crazy flavors like mango chili, green apple, watermelon and pink lemonade ($10).

Special items you may not find elsewhere include crystal cuts: hand cut hard candies; realistic-looking river stones from France made of candy-coated marzipan almonds, apricot paste and chocolate; black and green chocolate “olives” in a cocktail shaker and old time candies like horehound drops and sour balls. Perhaps your taste runs more along the lines of an “Idaho spud”($1.50), Pixie Stix, a Sky Bar or the elusive Valomilk ($1.50)? You’ll find them here. Looking for something under a dollar? Little mini boxes of “red hots” are only fifty cents.

What’s a candy store without some chocolate? You won’t find Hershey bars here. The chocolate sections feature quality bars from Caffarel, E. Guittard, Bernard Castellan and Zotter whose bars in cutting edge flavors like banana curry, lemon curd, poppyseed cherry and caramelized bacon are flying off the shelves. Prices on chocolate bars range from $4- 8 each. There is also a limited but lovely selection of luscious chocolate confections from Coco Luxe ($20) and Chocolate Moderne ($40).

Front and center you’ll find a selection of clear acrylic containers and glass jars perfect for making a custom gift or party favors. In fact, The Candy Store specializes in favors and corporate gifts but can also help you put together the ideal gift for just about anyone with a sweet tooth.