In the past few weeks there's been a bit of a sweet-treat invasion here in Manhattan, as a pair of new candy stores, one Swedish, the other from England, have opened their doors in the West Village and on the Upper East Side, respectively. Now, our philosophy has always been the more candy stores in NYC the better, and the locals–and, especially, no surprise, the schoolkids–near both locations seem to agree. We stopped by both Sockerbit and the London Candy Co. recently and had a great time chatting with the super-friendly owners, being amused and amazed by both the variety and weirdness of the wares, and leaving with big bags of loot which have since, somehow, disappeared…. And if neither Sockerbit nor the London Candy Co warrant a special trip for non-locals, they are both loads of fun and definitely worthy of a stop-in if you're in the area.
Sockerbit, all minimalist and white on Christopher Street, is filled with a crazy number of crazy candies: at least 140 varieties, in fact, all staples in Sweden but mostly new to these parts and palettes. Granted, you'll recognize the categories here–basically: gummy, licorice, chocolate–but most of the pieces we tried at this candy store (approximately, oh… 50 varieties?) had a distinct Scandinavian-ness to them which sort of surprised at first, but then appealed. Take the licorice, for example, which comes in sweet, in "sweet sweet", in salty, and in Kanderade Haxvral, "the ultimate mix between salty and sweet." And if salty licorice isn't for everyone (the jury's still out in our home, frankly), there's no way you should go through life without at least trying this stuff.
And the Sockerbit shopping experience only adds to the pleasure. The candy is all in bins, which you scoop into bags, and then weigh and pay $13 a pound, which, by the way, gets you a LOT of sweets. Browsing is part of the fun, as is reading the lively notes on, say, the Sweet Hearts ("Pure love between jelly and marshmallow"), and the Sura Jordgubbar ("Taste of a hundred strawberries in a single bite"), and the Banana Bubs ("Banana caramel foam biscuits") and the Fizzy Bubbliz ("Amazing bubbly bottles. You always want more."). And the chocolates come in milk and dark and bitter and are filled with everything and are coating everything else. Fun and, when you get used to it, tasty.
The fare at London Candy Co, is more familiar perhaps (you can get fun-sized Crunchies at Fairway these days!), but to have just about everything in that amazing British-candy universe all in one place–and in a clean, uncluttered one place at that–is a welcome addition to these shores, indeed. The London Candy Co. has it all: Smarties and Starbars and Flakes (and Dipped Flakes!), Crunchies and Yorkies and Lions and Poppets, Wine Gums and Polos and Chomps and Daims and Hobnobs and Twirls and everything Cadbury and… well, you get the idea. And even the more American-looking bars–the Snickers, the Kit Kats, the M&M's, etc.–are British imports, which means they're made with cane sugar, not corn syrup, and so are actually less sweet than what you may be used to.
Your basic candy bar-sized treat at London Candy Co. will set you back about $2, which does nothing to deter the hordes of neighborhood school kids who, so far, mob this place every afternoon, coming both for the sweets and, apparently, for the undeniable British-y charms of the young and good-looking staff. And for the adults and adults-at-heart, the London Candy Co also, and quite sensibly, sells cups of the excellent Stumptown Hairbender coffee as well as a variety of Tisserie baked goods. Jolly good, that.
Sockerbit and the London Candy Co. Details
Sockerbit is located on Christopher Street between Bleecker and West 4th Streets and is open every day from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. The Sockerbit. The London Candy Co. is located on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 94th Street and is open on Monday and Tuesday from 7:00 a.m. 9:00 p.m., on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 7:00 until 10:00 p.m., on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 8:30 until 9:00 p.m. The London Candy Co..