I had just gotten done with my 11 AM Fiction Lit class. My brain hurt, my eyes were starting to close on their own, and I hadn’t had my coffee yet. It was one of those mornings, and it felt like it would last all day. So, I decided to escape my collegiate walls at the New School and make the short walk to Bleecker Street. A visit to the London Candy Co. might provide just the turn around I needed for this caffeine-less, homework ridden day.
Barely ten minutes went by and I was standing at the front door of a new culture entirely. Spelled out in blue, neon wire was the word “LONDON,” and with a quick glance inside, no further explanation was needed. The store was so colorful! Decked out with bright reds and blues, everything seemed lit up and fun. The shop itself was filled—absolutely, floor to ceiling, filled—with everything and anything English. Don’t be deceived by the title of the store: while there was just about every piece of English candy I could ever imagine, The London Candy Co. is so much more than an ordinary candy shop.
Howie, the incredibly friendly manager, who walked me through the ins and outs of the Candy Co, likes to think of this hidden West Village gem more as a British convenience store. “What’s different is that no one else sells this much of a range, we have more stuff than shops you’ll find in England. There’s just so much to offer.” And he isn’t kidding. At a glance, I saw chocolate, gummies, chips (or as the English say, “crisps”) candy bars, mallomars, or the English equivalent, an assortment of English beverages, gift boxes of sweets, and English greeting cards as well as calendars and the like. In addition, this candy/convenience/ English awesomeness store carries Stumptown coffee—they even have cold brew, both a French Roast and a House Blend, on draft, something I’ve never even seen in my multiple years living in New York. As said before, this was at first glance, and I was impressed.
If the actual products of the store weren’t enough, the staff on hand were extremely friendly, helpful, knew their customers, and knew their supply. It was nothing but smiles from the moment I walked in and why shouldn’t there be, we were surrounded by European chocolate! But Howie does prove a point as to why the staff are so lighthearted, “People get excited to come into the store. There’s always positive energy, you don’t get many frowns, always smiles. People are happy to be here and we share that as well, we provide that.”
And this is what helps to make The London Candy Co. unique. No one does exactly what they do with the attitude in which they do it. Plus, let’s be honest, there can never be too much chocolate. Howie gave me the low down on some of the best and most popular items in the store, including his personal favorites. First was the Cadbury Flake Bar, a chocolate bar with ribbons of deliciousness inside. Then I learned one of the most popular chocolate bars is the Cadbury Crunchie bar: chocolate on the outside, with a honeycomb and toffee center. Howie’s personal favorite happens to be the Galaxy Chocolate, creamier than Cadbury with a crunchy cookie inside. The shop also has a variety of “higher end” chocolate, for those with a more “advanced pallet,” such as Willie’s cacao. In fact, The London Candy Co is the only store in America to even sell Willie’s.
Like I said though, the store has much more than chocolate. Known for their Maynard’s wine gums, jelly babies, unique flavored crisps, such as T-Bone steak, full line of beverages, such as Irnbru—as Howie describes a drink that resembles liquid bubble gum—and so much more, one could spend hours in The London Candy Co and still find new items that tickle their fancy. Whether we Americans like it or not we’re all Anglophiles at heart, infatuated by the accent, the customs, and of course the divine chocolate. Indulging on our curiosity of English culture is definitely worth doing, especially if the indulgence is spent at the Candy Co.
Upon leaving, Howie filled up a fresh cup of iced coffee, on draft, and handed me a palm size treat, wrapped in red foil. Only 50 cents at the Candy Co, Howie claims that this is one of the simplest, most amazing treats they have—a Tunnock’s Mallow. Basically, an American mallomar-turned-Brit. I thanked everyone for their hospitality and made my way back to school to prepare for my 2 o’clock class. Sitting in the New School Café, I unwrapped this chocolate treat and dove in. Even as a writing student, I find it difficult to put into words how heavenly this simple English sweet truly was. Coated in silky European chocolate and stuffed with fluffy marshmallow, I felt I could take on the day. Matched with some of the best coffee New York has to offer, my trip to The London Candy Co was not only a sweet escape to an English haven, but it was a much needed pick-me-up for the hectic day ahead of me.
Daniela Bizzell, Eugene Lang College, The New School University.
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