The South's Best Candy Shops
Blame it on our tendency for nostalgia, but we can think of few things sweeter than browsing a candy-colored shop filled with sugary treats. When we were kids, trips to the candy store were the most exciting days of the year. Our parents handed us a few coins, and our eyes widened when we realized that we were headed to the local candy shop. Our hearts beat faster, and we tried to prepare for the decision ahead. Should it be rock candy this time? Chocolate? Lollipops? Gumballs? Or a crunchy pecan praline? Any and all plans disappeared as we entered the sugarcoated wonderland. It was too much. Our little hearts almost couldn’t take it. Walls of confections rose as high as the eye could see. Baked, frosted, glazed, sprinkled, and boxed, we certainly had our favorites, but we weren’t too picky because there were always new flavors to discover and new goodies to try in the candy store. We love this sweet nostalgia, and thankfully, our kids can still have a quintessential Southern candy shop experience too. There are legendary old-fashioned candy shops all across the South, Southern staples that our grandparents and parents frequented, and there are also fantastic new shops filled with memorable treats. From fudge to chocolate pizzas, they have it all.
The Old Mill Candy Kitchen: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
The confectioners at The Old Mill Candy Kitchen use tradition to create their candies. They hand dip chocolate; they create their candy in old fashioned copper kettles; and they pull their taffy with machines that have been churning out taffy for over 75 years. It’s a time-tested tradition. Don’t miss their homemade fudge, brittle, and local favorite, the Bear Paw, made from chocolate, caramel, and pecans.
The Candy Factory: Lexington, North Carolina
You’ll know this old-fashioned candy shop by its red-and-white striped awning and old-timey signs. Within The Candy Factory, you’ll find treats galore—classic candies that tug at your memory, including chocolates, licorice, and locally made Red Bird peppermint puffs, plus creamy fudge made in-house.
Sweet Pete’s Gourmet Chocolate and Candy: Jacksonville, Florida
Sweet Pete’s is your one-stop shop for candy gifts and boxes of fine chocolate, as well as retro and novelty candies that will remind you of days gone by. (Don’t forget their party packs or their gluten free and vegan options—candy for all!). Located in Jacksonville, Florida, Sweet Pete’s is in the business of bringing smiles to the faces of their customers. They’re devoted to candy, because they know that you’re buying treats for the people you love, and that is the sweetest thing of all.
Southern Candymakers: New Orleans, Louisiana
When in NOLA, you must stop into Southern Candymakers on Decatur Street for toffee, pralines, caramels, fudge, divinity, or a hefty chocolate Cajun Gator with hand-painted eyes. Sweet—with just a little bite.
Three George’s Candy: Mobile, Alabama
Established in 1917, Three George’s has been a Mobile tradition for nearly 100 years. From cakes and chocolates to gourmet apples and milk chocolate turtles, they are a favorite for every occasion—gifts, holidays, and of course any weekday that needs a pick-me-up.
Cyndi’s Sweet Shoppe: Aiken, South Carolina
Nestled in Aiken, South Carolina, Cyndi’s Sweet Shoppe celebrates the best of small town sweets. From their enormous selection of jellybeans to ribbon-tied bags of candy-coated almonds, Cyndi’s is a new classic for all kids who want to find a favorite treat—and enjoy an old-fashioned, glass-bottled Coca-Cola.
The Chocolate Bar: Houston, Texas
This whimsical candy shop in Houston’s Rice Village is paradise for kids and adults alike. The Chocolate Bar is a perfect place for parties, but you are also free to stop in and be amazed by their astonishing selection of chocolates, Texas-themed and otherwise. You won’t find the likes of their Chocolate Pizza anywhere else. The Chocolate Bar’s cakes are towering feats of chocolate artistry—and they’re delicious: Try the “Candylicious Junkyard” for an extravaganza of sweetness. (Also, don’t forget your pet—they sell tasty doggie treats that Fido will love.)
Crown Candy Kitchen: St. Louis, Missouri
A St. Louis fixture since 1913, Crown Candy Kitchen doubles as a soda fountain and lunch spot. The vintage jukebox, the chocolate candies made in-house, the classic drinks—including a Butterscotch Malted and a Chocolate Phosphate—it’s truly a blast from the past and an ideal stop for anyone with a sweet tooth.