It’s Halloween, folks. It’s the one day of the year that you’re allowed to eat an astronomic amount of candy and not feel an ounce of guilt or shame about it. And that, my friends, is something worth celebrating.
Now, you could go out to your neighborhood grocery store and pick up the jumbo bag of “fun-sized” assorted candy bars…your standard stuff, the junk you don’t mind giving away to the neighbor kids. Or, maybe this year you take a different approach. Maybe you can truly reward yourself and enhance your Halloween with some really high-quality, unique, handcrafted candy. I vote for the latter.
So where can you scare up some seriously sensational candy. We’ve got you covered…the 5 best shops in Little Rock for high-quality candy:
Eggshells Kitchen Co.: All of Little Rock’s kitchen elite know what a treat it is to have Eggshells in our midst. They’re more than just nifty devices and utensils, though…they also do a wonderful job curating and assembling some excellent sweets. Check them out this time of year for a huge assortment of Hammond’s products, including a variety of chocolate bars (with flavors such as the bacon and potato chip, candy cane crunch, caramel mocha, double truffle, sea salt caramel, and toffee brittle), old fashioned lollipops (in cinnamon, birthday cake, root beer, and peach-mango), old fashioned taffy, and an assortment of “crispycakes” — handmade crisped rice marshmallow treats made by a Pine Bluff company called The Crispery. There’s also Lambrecht toffee in snack sized bags (try the “Holy Mole”), salted caramel popcorn, and much more.
Boulevard Bread Co: You’ll find fantastic food at Boulevard for just about every meal of the day—breakfast pastries that are among the best in town, sandwiches a’plenty at lunchtime, and take-out dishes, breads, and ready-made salads for dinner. But sweet snacks are not forgotten here, and they’ve long been known to carry some of the finest high-end confections from around the country. This time of year they’re got some very unique Halloween selections from Moonstruck Chocolate Co. in Portland. Don’t miss handcrafted truffles such as the Frankenstein Toffee, Popping Praline Mummy (with Pop Rocks!), Blood Orange Devils, and Peanut Butter Ghosts. They’ll also be baking up pumpkin-shaped, iced shortbread cookies. And for chocolate-lovers, Boulevard offers some of my favorite high-end options such as Askinosie, Patric (I recommend the PB&J flavor), and Sucre. If you or someone you is crazy for cacao…be sure to check these out.
Hillcrest Artisan Meats: Everyone in Hillcrest hearts H.A.M.. And what’s not to love? Some of the finest sandwiches in town, excellent cuts of meat, and a small specialty store all wrapped up in one convenient little shop along Kavanaugh Blvd. But H.A.M. has long been my go-to for specialty sweets, as well. In fact, on many birthdays/anniversaries/Valentine’s Days, I’ll simply “suggest” to my wife, “Just go to H.A.M…and pick out a bunch of stuff. You can’t really go wrong.” Some of their current confections include Torie & Howard tins of organic hard candies (in flavors such as “Pink Grapefruit and Tulepo Honey”), Tree Hugger all-natural bubble gum, Andy’s Daddy candy bars, and Glorybee Honey Sticks. H.A.M. is another retailer who’s worked hard to gather a fine selection of high-end chocolates. You’ll find Chocolove (try the cherry & almond), Patric, Theo, Salazon, Alter Eco, and The Tea Room bars.
Treatsie: In truth, Treatsie doesn’t have much of a store front. While they are a Little Rock-based company, they do most of their business online. And of course, the bulk of their customers are part of a subscription service in which subscribers are sent curated specialty boxes with a variety of new sweets every month. Subscribing would surely make a scary-good gift to yourself this Halloween, but you’re also free to peruse their online store and order items individually. Co-founders Keith Hoelzeman and Jamie Walden are passionate about their products and have personally traveled around the country meeting with candy makers and chocolatiers to ensure they stock their shelves with the finest products possible. I won’t attempt to list everything they offer here…but I’ll recommend a few of my personal favorites. Check out Nutty Steph’s peach-cardamom white chocolate bars, Salty Road’s sour cherry salt water taffy, Sweeteeth “Sea Is For Caramel” bars, and the Eclipse Chocolate tasting set (with chocolate bars in Orange Peel Anise, Sweet Basil Mint, Chile Hazelnut, and Macadamia Ginger).
Loblolly Creamery and The Green Corner Store: If you’ve ever been able to pry yourself away from Loblolly’s exceptional ice cream long enough to look around the store, you’ve probably also noticed they’ve got some great options in the candy department. Head on over to the Green Corner Store and you’ll find Theo chocolate bars, organic licorice, gummies, lollipops, and Glee gum. Of course, the Loblolly crew does some fine non-ice cream products of their own including toffee, hand-wrapped caramels, and some of the most magnificent vanilla marshmallows you’ll ever eat. Oh…and remember those Treatsie folks I just mentioned? They’ll be at the Green Corner Store all weekend selling their wares. In other words, you know where to find me for the next few days.