Candy, sweets, whatever you want to call it, the art of choosing your favorites as a kid is something still etched on the brains of us all today. London is great place not only for nostalgic treats but for sampling those enjoyed by kids all over the world. Marie Teather finds the best five candy shops in London.
1 Hope and Greenwoods
Few shops can evoke a sense of nostalgia like the Hope and Greenwood sweet store in Covent Garden. Expect the best of British candies from years gone by such as rhubarb and custards, cinder toffee, sherbet pips, barley sugar, and even bull’s eyes all stacked high in glass jars behind the counter.
The shop is a colorful, carnival step into what a sweet shop from the 1940s would look like, complete with black and white photos and bright banners. No surprise the store won Best Original Store award in 2006.
1 Russell Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5JD
0870 850 9049
2 Mr Humbug
If you’ve ever wondered what Charlie must have felt like standing in the Candyman’s floor-to-ceiling candy store before he made it into Willy Wonka’s mass-producing chocolate factory, then Mr Humbug will most definitely hold the answers. Set in the historical and quaint Greenwich, Mr Humbug is an eye and mouth watering haven of retro sweet delights with jars of sweets and candies you thought were long forgotten. The store promises to restore the service and quirky experience no longer seen on most high streets. From an absolutely humongous selection ask the Candy Man himself to put together a bag of aniseed balls, white chocolate mice, jazzies, gobstoppers, coca cola bottles, cherry pips, acid drops and many, many more. Well worth the trip.
12 Greenwich Market, London, SE10 9HZ
For a country that has adopted Indian food as its own, it surprising that Indian sweets and desserts don’t get more attention. With eight stores in London alone and more throughout the UK selling Asian, Indian, and Pakistani confectionery and savouries, Ambala has certainly spotted a gap in the market. Sweets may not be those you have seen before making it the perfect excuse to start testing your way through the selection. Be sure to try the Assorted Boxes of Halwa, Badam Barfi—an almond cream fudge from India, and the Kheer Mohan— Bengali fluffy sponge ball with a crispy outer coating and topped with pistachio nuts and traditional cream. For those who prefer savoury treats, the samosa are raved about by those living and working in the area.
55 Brick lane, Aldgate East, London, E1 6PU
4 Minamoto Kitchoan
Another cuisine that London cannot stop eating and yet doesn’t give the sweats and desserts the credit it deserves. Minamoto Kitchoan sells a wonderful selection of intricately and individually wrapped Japanese sweets, with the service that we have come to expect from the Japanese. Set in the heart of Piccadilly Circus the store has been selling sweet treats made mostly with azuki beans, kidney beans, glutinous rice, potatoes, and cherry blossoms for over 10 years. The shop even has a couple of benches for you to admire the care that has gone into creating each sweet and you can also eat in, washing down your selections with a cup of green tea.
44 Piccadilly, London W1J 0DS
020 7437 3135
For those who like their candy a little more imaginative, Cybercandy stocks a huge range of some of the world’s more wacky sugar filled creations. Dib dabs and candy cigarettes represent the best of British sweets, Twizzlers, Reese’s, and Mountain Dew from the States, while from Japan you’ll find Hello Kitty tropical mints, boxes of Pocky, and green tea flavored Kit Kats. The flagship store is based in Covent Garden.
3 Garrick Street, Covent Garden, London,