Ah, candy. One of the best inventions in the world. Let’s be real — we all pretty much feel like this fish dude from SpongeBob when it comes to sugar.
It’s no surprise that capitalist America has recognized this demand for sugar, targeted it and profited in a major way by means of candy shops. Berkeley is no stranger to this business. There are many benefits to checking out these candy shops — for starters, candy. ‘Nuff said. Plus, you get to choose your own candy out of cool containers or in prewrapped pretty packages. This makes the entire unhealthy experience quite transcendental. Also, candy makes a great gift. Right now is a great time in the semester to get some quick treats for your family and friends. Whether these presents are for Thanksgiving or Christmas, ’tis the season of giving … and giving someone you love chocolate or sugar can’t go wrong.
So you’ll be generous by giving gifts, but also reap the direct, personal rewards of visiting these shops and taste-testing their treats. Return to your childhood to get away from the stress of school. It’s totally OK, if not absolutely necessary, to act like a 5-year-old in these shops. Go with a few people whom you trust won’t judge you. And if they do judge you, there is still candy, so it doesn’t matter.
The point we are trying to drive home is that there really aren’t any reasons you shouldn’t visit a candy shop. All they do is fill you with joy and sugar. So go check them out! Here’s a little summary of our experiences in five of the candy shops in Berkeley.
1. Sweet On You
Sweet on You is far from fancy or spectacular, but it has a classic candy-store charm to it. The walls are lined with candy jars behind a counter, featuring its more decadent selections of chocolates and fudge. We suggest this one for convenience over experience. It’s so close to campus that you can grab some candy with plenty of time to make it to your class on time, but it’s still a little small. You have to enter through the Subway next door, which confused us a bit. But hey, they have candy, and that’s all that matters.
2. Sweet Dreams
Sweet Dreams is the calmest and most nontraditional candy shop — it sells far more than just candy. Trinkets and toys line the walls and fill the center of the shop. The weirdest things we saw there were fancy bars of soap. But nonetheless, it has candy and chocolate. It also has a nice location, if you’re hanging out down College Avenue already. You can find cute little trinkets and toys to give as unique gifts for Christmas in this shop. You can cater to both the sugar-lovers in your life and those misled souls who may not appreciate sugar as much as we do.
3. Chocolatier Blue
Chocolatier Blue is the classiest of this bunch by far. Seriously, these chocolates are so fancy that they are painted and sculpted into pretty shapes. Who doesn’t want fancy, painted chocolate? If you want to show your parents how sophisticated college life has made you, get them a box of these pricey chocolate treasures, and you’ll definitely charm them. There are two locations in Berkeley — one on University Avenue and one on Fourth Street. The Fourth Street location is definitely worth the 51B bus ride if you’re into fancy shops and beautiful Christmas lights.
4. See’s Candy
Recently opened, this beloved candy shop has finally come to Berkeley. The workers are cheerful, the samples are plenty, and the holiday cheer in this place is ridiculous. If you want some Thanksgiving or Christmas joy, go buy a chocolate turkey or Santa. They should cheer your depressed, overstudied spirit right up. Zachary’s is also right across the street, so you can get some deep-dish pizza for dinner before filling yourself with sweet See’s chocolate.
5. Powell’s Sweet Shoppe
Powell’s is the wonderland of all candy shops. It is bright, cheerful and decorated for Christmas, and it has the best customer service in all the land. The workers are genuinely kind and totally willing to help you decide which candies to buy. They offered to give us all of the samples we wanted as well, which gives them major brownie points in our book. The candy is great, but what sets this place far above the rest is the mini movie theater. That’s right. The shop has a sweet little corner that has chairs and a TV playing classic Willy Wonka. Candy and a show — so fun!
Get out there, fill yourself with sugar and enjoy a trip down memory lane with some of your friends, or just yourself. You won’t regret it!
Contact Kristen McFadden at [email protected]