I’ve never met a piece of candy I didn’t admire. No matter how terribly bad it was for my teeth, or how awful the ingredients, I always loved looking at those little glossy pieces sugar. After all, candy is whimsical; it’s something many of us link to childhood fantasies of rainbow-lacquered roads, cotton candy clouds and ponds filled with bubbling milk chocolate and floating marshmallows. And, oh the excitement of visiting a candy shop! It was undeniably the colors that lured me in: brilliant swirls, stripes and rows upon rows of jars stuffed with gorgeously hued candy.
Over time I began to notice a clear demise of the candy shop. And I’m referring to “mom and pop” kind of place where candy is made onsite, being stretched, pulled and contorted into tiny pieces of art. But at Papabubble, a candy store that originated in Barcelona, and has since opened sister stores in Tokyo, the Netherlands and New York City, things are sill made the old fashioned way: by hand. At first glace, these small shops may conjure wistful memories of childhood, but with a quick sample of flavors such as lavender, eucalyptus and lime salt chilli, one realizes this candy belongs more on Madison Avenue than in Willy Wonka’s factory.
Papabubble creates some of the most exquisite candy on the planet (arguably), and will customize orders, making anything from an edible bride’s bouquet to personalized lollipops. But beware, custom orders around the holidays can take up to a month to receive. And the shops are super busy, so don’t expect the same kind of personal experience — you’ll probably see candy being made right behind the counter, but the artisans will be hard at work with little time to chat.
I never would have guessed that as an adult I could still be wooed by a store of sweets. It must have been the nostalgia of admiring something that looked and felt like the candy from my favorite store as a child, but had the taste and personality of a luxurious confectionery.