The Bay's Top 10 Candy Shops To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth!

Finally. It’s socially acceptable to scarf sweets like it’s nobody’s business. Bowls overflowing with delicious treats are practically everywhere, and while it’s just another day in paradise for hard-core sugar addicts (ahem, guilty as charged), the season to stock up on gummies, suckers, and ooey-gooey chocolate-y goodness, is definitely upon us.
Of course, in true S.F. foodie fashion, we're not here to suggest you run rampant down the aisles of Safeway. Oh no, we’re going to help you hit the cavity jackpot with 10 of the fiercest sweet shops in town. And, whether your poison is hard-to-find Swedish sours from The Candy Store, festive faves from Miette, or old-timey candies from the new, throwback soda shop on the block, you’re in good hands. So, get ready for the ultimate sugar rush — just in time for Halloween, no less!
Photographed by Maria del Rio
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Fiona’s Sweetshoppe
Owner and Englishwoman Fiona Frie took a break from her medical career to open this Union Square outpost for candy lovers (see, doctor’s approve!). With a focus on English and Scottish confections, Fiona’s Sweetshoppe houses jars of interesting goodies such as Old Fashioned Humbugs, Gobstopping Gingers, Cola Cubes, Chocolate Limes, and imported candy bars galore. This place is a must for those adventurous candy tasters, as many treats are not usually found in the U.S.

What to get: Bon Bons, English caramels, chocolate eclairs, Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut, and Strawberry Foam.

Fiona’s Sweetshoppe, Sutter Street (between Claude Lane and Kearny Street), San Francisco; 415-399-9992.

Photographed by Maria del Rio
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The Fizzary
A welcome addition to Mission Street, The Fizzary has everyone flabbergasted as they walk in the door. The vast collection of vintage and hard-to-find soda pop that lines the walls — over 700 types — is incredibly impressive. And, smack in the middle of everything is a carousel of old-fashioned, bite-sized antique candy and salt-water taffy. There are even candy-flavored sodas that taste of Atomic Fireballs and cherry goodness. Owner Aaron Olson tries to stay away from anything mainstream to create an atmosphere reminiscent of the past and the soda scene is close to his heart as one of the brewers behind Taylor’s Tonics is made here in S.F. Keep your eyes peeled for a fountain in the coming months!

What to get: Who are we kidding — fill up on liquid candy here. It's all about the soda pop!

The Fizzary, 2949 Mission Street (between 25th and 26th streets), San Francisco; 877-368-4608.
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While Miette is mostly known for its pastries (macaroons, cakes, and tarts, oh my!) it continues to serve the desires on the other side of the bakery case with a carefully curated candy selection. With seasonal favorites such as orange chocolate squares and gummy sours, there is something for everyone inside this pretty pink haven. You can regularly find fancy Italian, French, and German candies alongside one of the widest varieties of black licorice in the Bay Area — we’re talking over 25 kinds!

What to get: Caramel Dragees (salted caramel in a thin, candy shell), Dinosaur Eggs (candy-covered milk chocolate with a gummy dinosaur inside), Butter Waffles (butter and maple hard candy), and Maison Bouche chocolate.

Miette, 449 Octavia Street (between Linden and Hayes streets), San Francisco; 415-626-6221.
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The Candy Store
Located off-the-beaten-Polk-Street path in Russian Hill, The Candy Store is on every sweets aficionado’s radar. With a gorgeous aesthetic, including an awe-inspiring wall of candy jars comprised of colorful, rare eats, it is no wonder that Target recently came knocking to carry a co-branded collection in the big-box retailer. Co-owner Diane Campbell is absolutely obsessed with candy (and it shows!) priding herself on finding handmade, small-batch confections with a unique story to stock the shelves. At $15 a pound, you can mix and match to your heart's delight in one of its signature blue bins. Want to try it on the house? Hit up its Halloween party on October 31 from 3 to 6 p.m. and fill up a bag with free snacks.

What to get: Big Picture Farms Goat Milk caramels, Swedish sour gummies, pumpkin seed toffee, gummy candy corn, L.C. Good lollipops, chocolate-covered butter-crunch toffee balls, and chocolate peanut-butter malt balls.

The Candy Store, 1507 Vallejo Street (between Polk and Van Ness streets), San Francisco; 415-921-8000.
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Z. Cioccolato
When strolling in North Beach you may be lured into this spot by the sign promising free fudge samples, but by the time you’re in the door and get a whiff of the warm caramel corn, you’re hooked. Local favorite Z. Cioccolato (pronounced choc-o-lato) is most famous for its fudge — it was even highlighted on the Food Channel. On any day, there are 40 different types being dreamt up by the chocolate mastermind in the back of the shop — including wacky ones, like rainbow sherbet and key-lime pie. But if you’re looking for fruit flavor, we say stick to the barrels of salt-water taffy. If fudge, caramel corn, or taffy isn’t your sweet spot, you can settle for a candy bra, G-string, or garter. Hey, whatever floats your boat.

What to get: Fudge! We like Maple, Black Panther (milk and dark chocolate, sea-salt caramel, and peanut butter), Mocha Swirl, almond and chocolate, and Oreo bark. Also, the salt-water taffy.

Z.Cioccolato, 474 Columbus Avenue (between Vallejo and Stockton streets), San Francisco; 415-395-9116.
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Powell’s Sweet Shoppe
We stand up and applaud the folks who took Michael Powell’s one-of-a-kind sweet shop and franchised it to 27 locations up and down the West Coast. You can’t help but feel “like a kid in a candy store” when you walk in the door because, well, you are! With Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory blaring on a big screen, Powell’s Sweet Shoppe is packed to the brim with all the candy favorites you dream about. There are bulk candy bins, a "gum library," a memory-lane table featuring Big Hunks, Zotz, and Charleston Chews, a British phone booth stocked with U.K. favorites, and a glass case featuring over 27 types of chocolate truffles and locally made treats — including chocolate-covered bacon! In true Bay Area fashion, it even lists its vegan options on the website.

What to get: DIY, mix-and-match candy by the pound, Nerds, Pixie Sticks, Hi-Chews, British Kit-Kat, Turtles (pecan, almond, or cashew in milk or dark chocolate) chocolate-covered toffee, chocolate-covered honeycombs, and s’mores.

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, 3206 College Avenue (at Alcatraz Avenue), Berkeley; 510-658-9866; 35 North Santa Cruz Avenue (between Bean Avenue and W. Main Street), Los Gatos; 408-395-5200; 1166 Howard Avenue (between Lorton and Highland avenues), Burlingame; 650-344-4478.
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Hooker’s Sweet Treats
Tucked away in the Tenderloin is an obsession-inducing cafe that drives us bonkers (in a good way)! The secret sweets inside can be found in a few local gourmet markets like Bi-Rite, but the refreshing decor is a respite from the bustling city. Hooker’s Sweet Treats is definitely worth dropping in for a cup of Sightglass coffee and a quick sugar high. We named its bread pudding one of our best, but it’s truly the salted caramels that make Hooker's Sweet Treats so special. It doesn't overdo anything, keeping flavors simple and tasty. Seriously, why ruin a good thing? If you haven’t tried, you must go … please leave your home right now.

What to get: Dark chocolate, sea-salt caramels.

Hooker’s Sweet Treats, 442 Hyde Street (between Ellis and O’Farrell streets), San Francisco; 415-441-4628.
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Rock Candy Snack Shop
Up in Bernal Heights is Heather Young’s neighborhood oasis for locally sourced chocolates, truffles, hard candies, licorice, taffy, popcorn, caramels, rocky road, toffee, and brittles. Her focus is finding treasures from Bay Area artisans that tickle taste buds and inspire candy exploration. Rock Candy Snack Shop delights the entire community with fair trade, raw, organic, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free cavity-inducing options. It even offers a PMS gift box full of treats to get you through chocolate emergencies! Genius.

What to get: The absinthe-flavored chocolate bar, double-salted licorice, toffee, and Snake Butterfly chocolate in a variety of odd (yet amazing) flavors.

Rock Candy Snack Shop, 521 Cortland Avenue (between Andover and Moultrie streets), San Francisco; 415-948-7497.
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It ‘Sugar
If Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, and Cher from Clueless went into the candy business, this would absolutely be their store. With the Jolly Rancher makeup, barely-there candy outfits, and Dev’s “Dancing in the Dark” pumping, you might think this is the place to stock up on lollies before your next rave. It does have the biggest Reese’s cups and Snickers in the world, but with flasks and candy names like OMFGumballs, it’s hard to peg the customer for this joint — but hey we’re not complaining, there are buckets and buckets of candy! Plus, if you can get past the merch mania and you’ll find they have gummy bears separated by color. Oh snap.

What to get: Supersized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hello Kitty Pez, mix-and-match candy, gummy bears, and candy cereal (breakfast of champions, right?).

It ‘Sugar, 333 Jefferson Street (between Leavenworth and Jones streets), San Francisco; 415-775-1057; 5624 Bay Street (at Shellmound Street), Emeryville; 510-653-4752.
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See’s Candies
Everyone knows See’s, its one of the most-beloved candy purveyors not only in our backyard (props!), but also across the world. The famous confectioner has been churning out chocolate with a smile from South San Francisco since 1921. We should be so lucky that the white-uniformed maidens who make our mouths water are never that far away from us with shops scattered throughout the Bay Area. With rotating seasonal favorites including Pumpkin Pie truffles, See’s is a never-fail crowd pleaser for gifts (and the free samples don’t hurt, thank you very much!) ... keeping us warm, fuzzy, and sugarcoated all the time. A happy habit is right!

What to get: Milk Bordeaux (it's the best!), Scotchmallow, Dark Butterchew, Key-Lime truffle, Apple-Pie truffle, and Peanut Brittle.

See’s Candies, 542 Market Street (between Sutter and 2nd streets), San Francisco; 415-362-1593; 3 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco; 415-391-1622; 754 Clement Street (between 8th and 9th avenues), San Francisco; 415-752-0953; Stonestown Galleria 3250 20th Avenue, San Francisco; 415-731-1784.

Photographed by Maria del Rio