Between Halloween and the holidays, it’s hard to deny the yearning for sugary confections—particularly along the coast, where fudge and chocolate are staples. Here are some beach businesses that cater to your craving.
Epicureans should head to Edie Bees in downtown Lewes, which is a Parisian-style chocolate shop. It’s also a feast for the eyes. Owner Leisa Berlin changes the window and table displays to salute the season or a candy-friendly holiday, such as Halloween or Valentine’s Day. Berlin has searched for the best chocolate and candy manufacturers, and the attractive merchandise is artfully arranged on white shelves and round tables. Individual pieces, which often sport artwork, are neatly lined up in a glass case. Not a chocolate fan? Check out the shelves filled with apothecary jars of brightly colored candy. Get a scoop and bag as much as you wish.
The hot pink, canary yellow and lime green Candy Kitchen shops are hard to miss—and not just because of the décor. They’re seemingly everywhere, from Midway Shopping Center to Virginia Beach. The business dates back to 1937, when Sam Taustin opened a candy shop for his sisters to run. They were so successful that he opened more. Today there are 19 locations. (Some are closed for the season, but you can still savor the sweets at the Midway and Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk stores.)
Candy Kitchen offers nearly 25 mouthwatering fudge varieties. Chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, chocolate-peanut butter and chocolate walnut remain the most popular. The taffy, meanwhile, is cooked in steel kettles, heated by steam. Once it’s pulled, rolled and cut, it’s available in assorted-flavor boxes or individual flavors, which range from vanilla to orange creamsicle.
Saltwater taffy is also the star at Dolle’s on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk. But at this time of year, you might find a seasonal flavor, such as pumpkin spice, in the mix.
Originally opened in 1927, the Rehoboth store was destroyed during the Ash Wednesday Storm in March 1962, when the taffy machine fell through the floor and wedged in the sand. It was cleaned, repaired and put back to work. The story fits in well with the reported origin of saltwater taffy. Legend has it that a storm in 1884 flooded one Atlantic City businessman’s shop with sea foam. Rather than scrap his Turkish taffy, he sold it as the latest thing: saltwater taffy.
Next door to Dolle’s, you’ll find pumpkin-spice caramel corn and other fun fall flavors at Ibach’s Candy by Sea, which is owned by the same family. The shop also offers chocolates and fudge.
Snyder’s Candy in Rehoboth Beach is another longtime fixture on Rehoboth Avenue. Officially, it dates back to at least 1940, when there was an advertisement for the store in a church flyer. Some maintain it was operating even before then. Jeff Balk purchased the shop in 2006, and has built up the online and in-store business.
One-pound boxes of assorted fudge flavors offer a tasty variety. (Rachel Ray has touted coconut as her fave Snyder’s fudge.) Snyder’s also has more than 70 flavors of saltwater taffy. You’ll also find gummies, licorice and a wall of old-fashioned candy that will make baby boomers wax nostalgic.
Fudge is popular in just about any resort beside the water. Consider that Kilwins started in Petoskey, Michigan. Expansion and franchising brought the shop to Rehoboth Avenue. Here, you’ll find fudge, ice cream and chocolates.
Three Blond Bakers in Bethany occupies the old Fudge Factory site and new owners kept the main attraction. (The shop is named for three women in the Baker family: Brittany, mom Ann and sister Cassidy.) Expect the typical and the, well, unusual. One year, the shop offered a sweet tribute to “Breaking Bad.” Blue-colored vanilla fudge came topped with Blue Razz Pop Rocks and rock candy. Customers couldn’t get enough of the “Walter White Special.”