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The Sweets of San Francisco

Thayer Allyson Gowdy The Candy Store.

Photo: Thayer Allyson Gowdy

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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