Americans certainly have a love affair with candy. What else demonstrates the country’s unabashed admiration of all things sweet than the multi-million revenue streams of items like M&Ms ($673.2 million), Snickers ($441.1 million) and the Hershey’s bar ($475 million)? The denizens of Austin’s culinary arts scene certainly have no problem flaunting their collective sweet tooth. The capital city is marked by a (chocolaty) spread of candy shops, each one offering some of the brightest and most sugar-packed candies available. Craving some Kisses? Salivating for some Skittles? Then here are the Austin sweet shops you’ll need to visit for your next sugar rush:
1. Big Top Candy Shop: Located on South Congress Street, Big Top Candy Shop has been serving sweets to the greater Austin area since it first opened in October 2007. When it comes to sheer options, Big Top certainly takes the cake, as it sells over 300 different varieties of bulk candy and 2,000-plus styles of wrapped candy. Aside from those treats, Big Top is known for an equally massive selection of shaved ice, Italian sodas and egg cream drinks. The syrup menu is massive, but some of the flavors include Dr. Pepper, grape, root beer, Big Red, watermelon, wedding cake, hazelnut, mango, pink bubblegum, pina colada, kiwi, marshmallow and tangy apple. Or, try one of a handful of house specialties, like the Antique Lace – a medley of rose water and vanilla – or the citrus-heavy Scurvy Elixir. Big Top also offers homemade ice cream, like rocky road, butter pecan, rainbow sherbert, cinnamon and butter crunch.
2. Sweet Shack Candy Shop: Technically, the Sweet Shack is located just outside of Austin, in nearby Cedar Park, Texas. However, don’t let a brief 20-mile drive prevent you from enjoying one of the best little candy shops in all of greater Austin. Perhaps the biggest draw to the Sweet Shack is the volume of hard candy available. The selection includes rock candy, candy pacifier, jelly beans, Sprees, sour jawbreakers, gum drops, Lego candy, mini-jawbreakers, several kinds of hard gum and Hot Tamales. Or, maybe you’re in the mood for ice cream. The Sweet Shack doesn’t sell your standard chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavors. The Astronaut Ice Cream is similar to those treats enjoyed by actual space-faring engineers from NASA. Of course, that’s not even the oddest or quirkiest item on the shop’s menu. Other bizarre treats include candy bacon, pink hot chocolate, several unique Pop Rocks flavors, specialty soda – like Prickly Pear and Birch Beer – and something called Toxic Waste, a sour and crunchy candy housed in what appears to be a mini-drum of glowing green radioactive waste.
3. Lammes Candies: When it comes to chocolate, there is perhaps no greater dynasty in the Austin area than Lammes Candies. The first shop opened all the way back in 1885, and since then the brand has expanded to three shops and a sizable online presence. In that time, Lammes has amassed a sizable menu of sweet treats, so much so that they regularly rotate items out based on seasonal holidays and general demand. Love cookies? Lammes has a slew of signature items, like several brand of Longhorns – including white chocolate and another with caramel and pecans, Cashew Critters, dark chocolate Choc’Adillos and Peanut Paws. Taffy more your speed? Lammes not only offers taffy kisses in cinnamon, mint and molasses flavors, but a signature caramel chew called Carmelitos. Other favorites include pralines, peanut brittle, milk chocolate bars and the Texas Two Step chocolate gift box.