The Sweets of San Francisco

The Sweets of San Francisco

Thayer Allyson Gowdy The Candy Store. Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Thayer Allyson Gowdy The Candy Store.
Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Retro candy stores are back in style.

Some news doesn’t need to be sugarcoated: retro candy stores are back in style. In San Francisco, a handful of brightly colored shops trigger a trip down memory lane. Diane Campbell and her husband, Brian, comb the country for icons of American kitsch to fill the shelves at the Candy Store (1507 Vallejo St.; 415/921-8000). They’ve brought back everything from the Idaho Spud—a chocolate, marshmallow, and coconut candy bar—to the nutty Walnetto, a onetime movie-theater staple. Pink curtains and tasseled light fixtures make Sweetdish (2144 Chestnut St.; 415/563-2144), in the Marina District, feel girlie in a good way. Licorice lace and large swirled lollipops look like edible artwork. Top treats?Rock-candy dots and hard candies in apothecary jars. Pining for the cola cubes and peppermint creams of her British childhood, Fiona Frie opened Fiona’s Sweetshoppe (214 Sutter St.; 415/671-9162) in Union Square. Barely bigger than a waiting room, the shop covers the vast U.K.-candy landscape, including Scotch-whisky fudge and a creamy, corn syrup–free version of the Kit Kat bar. Miette Confiserie (449 Octavia Blvd.; 415/626-6221), in Hayes Valley, specializes in European delights like Dutch licorice. Jars of rainbow Jelly Bellies cast kaleidoscopic colors onto the wall, and cotton candy is made to order. It’s a storybook setting, as if Hansel and Gretel had wandered somewhere delicious.

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